The Detrimental Effects of Complaining

I grew up in a society where it was completely normal to tell friends or neighbours how unfair life was and how nothing was working out. That’s what they wanted to hear so they could feel ‘Schadenfreude’ which means a sense of satisfaction about someone else’s bad luck. If you had told them about how well your life was going, you would have been considered arrogant and been avoided. Friendships were built on the degree of woundedness you displayed. The more your acquaintances could commiserate with you and advise you, the more important they felt.

Staying alert and noticing what I am thinking isn’t always easy but I can catch myself when I go off on a tangent where I feel discontent about a situation or sorry about myself. In the company of others whose main occupation is to complain about everyone and everything I get lost sometimes in the temptation to join them. But there is a thermostat inside me which creates a sense of yucky discomfort and forces me to take myself onto a higher vibration like gratitude or compassion. 

When people around me lament and criticize, I try to change the topic by relating a funny or uplifting story. Sometimes it works but more often my conversation partners go right back to their complaints. After a while I feel exhausted and try to physically remove myself. I have had to let go of friendships and drop out of groups where there was too much emphasis on woe-is-me. Instead I look for ‘refreshing’ folks whose outlook enriches their and my life. They are more anchored in the present and accept what is.

In closing I would like to say that we always have a choice to look at the glass half full or half empty. It requires conscious awareness to realize what position we are taking. You can find out how I went about solving the pattern of complaining and unconscious living when you read my book “When Life Has Other Plans…Discover the Hidden Gifts’.

Dorothea L. Gordon