Why complaining is ineffective and what to do instead

I usually stay away from facebook drama, and any drama and complaints for that matter. And it works for me to some degree. It saddens me how much energy people are spending on ridiculing government, politics, other people for behavior they don't agree with, worlds problems etc., the energy that they could use way more effectively. Mostly people usually mean well and stand for what's important to them, but that behavior is usually not bringing them what they want.

I agree, there are things that we perceive as "problems" in the world. The circumstances that we wish were different. Something that we don't see fair. That we want to change.

But most often than not, all that people are doing is complaining and blaming and not doing anything constructive about it.

Often people find comradery about strongly disagreeing with something. Misery loves company. Our society is way more wired for complaining, blaming and judgments than for constructive criticism and positive action that actually creates a change around the topics of complaints.

I understand, some people think that highlighting the negative and showing what's bad about it is a good and necessary thing when they are touched deeply by something.

But I am here to disagree, that it's actually good. And here is why.

Why complaining is ineffective

Reason #1: By blame and complaints you actually energetically support that which you don't like

Whatever you put energy on grows. That means if you are putting attention on what you don't want, you are actually feeding and perpetuating more of that in the world, and also bringing more of that into your own life.

Have you ever seen people trying to trigger negative reaction of you by posting something controversial on facebook? Or something scandalous? Those people usually get thousands comments on facebook, with many of them often by people criticizing them. But with that they get more visibility. :)

Or ever noticed politicians who are most hated that are getting free publicity from that and end up winning the elections?

You get the idea....

On a quantum physics level: when you are in the energy of blame and complaints, you are vibrating on that "lower" frequency, and by that bringing more of what is aligned with that frequency to the world, and the life around you.

You start gravitate towards the version of reality where you experience more of it (the emotions of complaining and more and more reasons for you to feel that way). 

Also by directing your energy towards something, whether it's positive supporting energy or negative criticizing energy, you still give that energy by simply putting your attention there. As long as you have some emotion (positive or negative) and direct your attention, or even more powerful: using your words towards whatever that is, you are giving your energy to that which you focus on. With that you will be more depleted and they will be more energized.

It also applies to ideas and movements, not just specific people and their behavior: by rallying anti-cancer we are actually energetically feed the idea of cancer, by focusing on fighting world hunger we perpetuate.... 

Reason #2: Complaining drains energy, yours and others around you

Have you noticed that when you complain about something you then feel more down and tired? You may feel a bit more powerful and righteous for a second, but after a while (whether you realize it or not) your energy diminishes.

Or have you noticed that being around people who are constantly negative, blaming or complaining is exhausting, and as much as you love them you start to avoid them at all costs?

Why? Because:

Complaining and blaming is actually a form of negative vampirism conscious or not..

People might not be aware of what they are doing. You may not be aware of what you are doing. But it works. Try to spend significant time around someone who is complaining and you'll see.

Reason #3 By blaming and complaining you are giving away your power, it costs you your happiness

You admit that your happiness just got tinted by something outside of you. You acknowledge that in order for you to be in a happy and balanced outside world should be somehow different. 

Pretty much when you blame or complain, you are playing victim. 

Think about it... You cannot feel both at the same time: blame something outside of you and feel in power to create the reality you want.

The question is what is more important to you: feel justified in your complaints or keep the power to create what you want? The choice is yours.

Reason #4 Complaining has a price: your happiness

When we blame or complain, we don't feel good. We can't be happy and complaining at the same time.

When you say yes to complaining, you say no to your happiness.

Reason #4: Blaming and complaining is simply ineffective

Ask yourself: when is the last time you got what you wanted by blaming and complaining? Most often than not that actually never creates what we desire.

Next time you catch yourself complaining or blaming, ask yourself: what's the goal you are really trying to achieve by doing so?

  • Do you want to make it better?
  • Do you want to be right that it sucks?
  • Do you want to justify an excuse why you can't do something?
  • Are you trying to avoid something or bring something forth?

Whatever that is, there are usually way more effective ways to achieve it without leaking your energy through complaining.

What to do instead. Constructive way to deal with the situations that you feel strongly about

#1 In order to change anything you must accept it first

It might be a tough one for some people.

By accepting it I don't mean you need to agree with it or embrace it. But you must acknowledge it's right to exist.

It's a tricky division of responsibility and acceptance.

It's up to the others and the world to be what they choose, it's up to us to decide how we want to respond to it. if we don't agree with something, that doesn't automatically make the world wrong.

Once you accept that whatever is is, you can more effectively respond rather that react by default.

Example from my life: I had a boyfriend many years ago. He was a wonderful guy in so many ways, but once in a while he had anger bursts that were hard for me to handle. We went to a couples retreat trying to better our communications and resolve this and other issues. I to this date remember the words from the facilitator to my complaint that his anger issues are unacceptable for me and that he must fix it. She said: "Yes, sure his anger and flying off the handle are his issues and he most certainly can work on improving them if he chooses to. But your inability to be fully present, peaceful and balanced in face of his anger and inability to handle it are your issues and it's your work to do".

I know it's often much easier to blame others than look at your triggers and handle those. But is it effective?

#2 What you judge in others usually point you to the shadow parts of you

If you have people who are a certain way, it's either that you are that way too in some situations, or you judge yourself harshly and not accept that part within yourself, in some shape or form, or some context.

Most often people who judge other's anger, they judge anger in general and never allow themselves to feel it.

People who judge victims do not accept themselves in the state when they don't see a way out and need help, they are also being victims themselves when complaining about this other person being a victim. :)

Any perception of other that carries a strong negative energy in the reaction points to some unhealed unaccepted part of self.

So next time you notice a judgmental, complaining or blaming reaction towards someone, ask yourself: what do you judge about them and then look for where you are the same way (or the opposite).

Not only that will give you clues towards where you can do some inner work, it might also give you some compassion towards the other.

#3 Whatever you are pissed off about you are meant to do something about

A friend of mine recently said that, and it rang very true to me.

Whenever you are deeply triggered by something outside of you, that actually gives you clues that some of your deepest values are violated, and that, if you use it wisely, might give you an insight into what your values are.

And then you can redirect this energy. 

For me recently it was people playing victims that bugged the hell out of me. Especially the kind who justify their victimhood, trying to convince me they can't do something because of something outside of them. It pissed me off like nothing else.

My view at this is that we can actually create our lives anyway we want. And we can have everything we truly desire in life. Though to do that we must actually focus on what we want instead and commit to it, and be fully responsible for bringing it into reality. And what I can do about it is to support people in creating what truly matters to them through my work.

Next time you are pissed off at something and start to blame, complain or criticize, catch yourself. Stop the automatic habitual behavior.

And ask yourself: what would you like instead? And how do you need to be and what can you do to bring it to existence? Then be that person and take those actions.

#4 It's most often not the situation itself that's unacceptable in of itself, but your perception of  it

In my opinion, most conflicts happen not because someone did something to hurt the other person in some way, but because the other person perceived it though his/her own lense that left them feel triggered.

When we perceive life, there is a fine line between what actually is happening and how we perceive it, between the actual even and our interpretation of it. The problem happens when people collapse the two. When they believe that how they see it happening is what actually is happening, and react out of that assumtion.

And most of the times those two don't match. We see it most often in our close family and romantic situations, but it happens everywhere.

So  next time you complain about something ask yourself: what's your interpretation of the situation? And is that the only possible explanation of what happened?

If you just train yourself to claim that your view on what is happening is that, just your view, and be open to other possibilities, not only your relationships dramatically improve, but you might just have way less triggers for complaints.

#5 If possible, validate your perception before reacting

Now that you realized that your perception may or may not match the reality, it would be wise when possible to validate your perception before reacting.

If it's in a personal relationship that you got triggered: share your perception with the other person and ask if that's what they meant by their behavior. 

If it's about the event that you can't directly ask, you can do research and collect as much information as possible before responding.

#6 Respond vs react: consciously choose your reaction

Often people react with their habitual reactions to the their interpretation of events other than taking a pause and consciously responding.

To effectively deal with whatever is at hand, you must first realize that you are AT CHOICE at all times about how you respond to anything. Nothing outside of you actually defines your own behavior. Whether your response is automatic and habitual or conscious.

So if you own your reactions as your own and stop blaming other people for your emotions and behavior, that gives you more power in creating the reality you prefer.

If you choose the reaction that is lined up with the highest version of you, you will be creating the life you want little by little.

BTW if you choose to complain or blame, it's not bad or wrong, it's a valid choice just like any other. Just be aware of the consequences that will bring you.

#7 No need to fight what you don't want: direct your energy towards what you want more of instead

As opposed to complaining things you don't like, pay more attention to and acknowledge the things you do like and want more of.

Find your main complain trigger and ask yourself: what could I pay more attention to that is the opposite of that? Then make that your practice.

I.e. if you are complaining how you are underappreciated, start to appreciate other people around you.

If you are blaming others for being negative, become the more positive person yourself and express more acknowledgement when other people around you choose that too.

Don't want war? Bring more peace into your daily life.

Judging people who are set in their ways? Focus on being more open minded yourself, curious about other people and noticing and celebrating when you see flexibility.

#8 No more excuses

Often when we blame or complain about others or the world, we use it as an excuse why we can't do something.

If you notice that, just admitting that to yourself and owning it gives you some energy back. 

And then you have a choice: allow those "excuses" to control your life and deprive you from what you want, or choose to commit to what you want no matter what and find ways to make it happen regardless of circumstances.

#9 Replace judgment with constructive criticism and direct ask when necessary

If you feel it's necessary for you to express yourself towards someone or something when you disagree with their ways, use constructive criticism. Express your perception of the situation (and own it as such) and make positive actionable suggestion towards how the situation might be improved. Or when you feel line complaining, you can simply directly ask for something you would like instead.

Using constructive criticism and direct ask is a responsible way to respond to what you feel strongly about, and often more effective.

When you make a request, people still have a choice to say yes or no, but at least you will bring it to light and give them the opportunity to do so.

#10 Remember: successful people don't blame or compain, they take responsibility and act accordingly

Do you think successful people often use blame and complaints as they navigate life. I bet you they don't. If they did, they wouldn't get highly successful given all the reasons that I described above, and many more.

I recently read the biography of Elon Musk. I admire the man. Full responsibility, the level I rarely see.

In one part of the book it was described how often Elon asked from his employees something that seemed impossible. And when some of them responded saying it's impossible, he responded: "I know it seems impossible. So are you gonna do it or no?" Some people said yes and then to their own surprise delivered on it. Some people said it's impossible so they can't do it, to which Elon said: "Ok, I respect your choice. I now fire you from executing on this specific project, I will be the CEO for making this project work in addition me being the CEO of my companies." And then he actually did it, he ran those projects to success on top of all his other responsibilities. 

So if you want to be successful in life, next time you want to complain or blame, think twice whether or not that is in alignment with the kind of life you are creating. 

Summary. Instead of complaining, define what you want and go for it.

With all that said: when you notice yourself complaining, blaming or judging ask youself:

What would you like to have instead?

What do you want to experience instead as far as emotions go?

What do you want to create in the world that will be more preferred for you?

And then use all your energy that you would have otherwise wasted on complaining to bring that to reality.