At any given time, there are myriad things to possibly complain about. From your looks, to the waiter, to your neighbors, your boss, customers, contractors, family, and friends… the list goes on.
Occasional complaining is not a vice. In fact, when you complain about something, you could bring it to the attention of the person concerned and the problem could get fixed.
The problem is whining—consistent, extensive and frequent complaining about everything, from the important to the most mundane. Whining is not only burdensome to the people around you; it could also have adverse effects on the quality and outcome of your life.
It’s self-evident that persistent complainers generally have a dull, pessimistic outlook to life; nothing is good enough for them and this attitude is manifested by their life outcomes—ill health, financial instability, lack of solid relationships, depression and anger.
Here are additional reasons why you should consider putting an end to the habit of complaining and whining:
Healthy complaining is directed toward your subject of concern. For example, if your employee is not keeping time, you could address this with them directly.
On the contrary, unhealthy complaining does not intend to solve problems. Here is how it looks: your employee has a time management problem that annoys you. Instead of airing your concern to them, you complain about their behavior to everyone but them, including your partner, friends, pet, and other employees.
Problem not solved.
In addition to being stuck with an employee whose performance is affecting you and your business, your constant whining about the same issue is also burdening those whom you are unloading your complaints on.
To solve problems, practice healthy complaining by airing your concerns in a constructive way to the right person.
One consequence of taking everything too personally is persistent complaining.
The truth is, at any given time, many things will piss you off, worry you, or repulse you but you do not have to take it all so personally.
If you tend to take everything personally, you are essentially losing your power and control to those things or people. And, constant complaining is a symptom of loss of personal power.
Taking it too personally also allows you to see yourself as the victim and everyone else as the offender. Again, as a victim, you are framing yourself as a powerless person who does not have control of their external environment.
The good news is that you can change the habit of taking life too personally. One way to do this is to learn the art of non-attachment. Attachment is about not wanting things the way they are or clinging tightly to ‘your way’.
Non-attachment is simply about letting it go—easier said than done, but it can free you of the anger and consequent whining that comes with being too attached to people, things, and concepts.
Mindful meditation is a good place to start the process of learning how to let go. As you meditate, acknowledge that everyone is on their own path and that some things will not always go how you would like them to go. Let go of the need to constantly control and allow yourself to go with the flow.
Self-victimization is a core element of whining and complaining. Here’s the thing, when you complain, you are blaming other people for your woes and for everything that isn’t right. As such, you are the victim and they are the bad guys, this is known as an externalized locus of control.
It’s true that sometimes, your complaint is warranted but whining and wallowing in it does not advance your course or solve any problem. An external locus of control only causes you to give up your inherent power and so you largely remain a “victim”.
You want to work on developing a greater sense of internal locus of control. This means viewing yourself as having the power to create your own reality, as having responsibility over your success and failure. An internal locus of control will allow you to play your role in solving a problem or to let it go if there is nothing you can do to solve it. In the end, you will be in your power as opposed to losing your power.
We all feel entitled to some things, don’t we? We’re entitled to safety, a roof over our heads, food, and respectful treatment from strangers, people we work with, friends and family.
Yet, there is a thin line between ordinary entitlement and pervasive entitlement that can cause you to live in a vicious cycle of complaining about not getting what you ‘need’ or ‘deserve.’
People who constantly complain have an overt sense of entitlement and ironically they never get what they want—whining does not attract the very thing you need.
Whether in a leadership position or interpersonal relationships, the feeling that you need special treatment and whining about it can certainly isolate those around you.
Practice how to balance your own needs and those of others. As you realize that others have needs just like you, you will complain and feel less entitled while being more giving. Also, when you are tempted to whine, take back your power and either change what you can or let it go and end the cycle of your frustration and suffering.