Something happens to you. It’s outside of your control and you couldn’t stop it. It affects you nonetheless.
Maybe you had an unexpected financial downfall. You didn’t get the new job you applied for. The weight isn’t coming off.
Whatever the situation may be, it’s easy to get down on yourself, to complain, to wallow in self-pity.
When you’re stuck and the next move isn’t apparent, the right emotion to feel is self-pity. From a logical standpoint, you shouldn’t feel happy if things go your way. You should feel bad.
But feeling bad all the time is no way to live, so what do you do?
Make This Realization Every Time You Complain
As much as I consider myself a successful person, I get down in the dumps just as much as anyone else. It’s unavoidable. I think Tony Robbins gets sad and complains sometimes — he just doesn’t show it.
I’ve tripled my income in the past few years, but it didn’t get rid of my financial problems.
I’m happy with the progress of my professional life, but it has its on (very) frustrating pitfalls and challenges.
Even though I’m persistent, positive, and patient, some situations just make me wonder…
Why is this happening to me?
When I find myself in a deep rut of complaining, I remember the following sentence.
Complaining doesn’t do anything. It’s not a strategy. It’s not a solution. If anything, complaining can only move you backward. These are fact of the matter statements, not judgments.
Even telling this to myself doesn’t work every time, because self-pity is a powerful emotion. Usually, I do embed the thought in my mind enough to act.
I’ve found time and time again the best strategy for changing involves grounding yourself in the reality of the present and moving forward from there.
If you’re able to say to yourself, “This is where I’m at. Now what am I going to do about it?” you have a fighting chance of making something happen.
Of course, this is easier said than done, right?
Just Admit It
Have you ever noticed people who say they don’t like drama tend to be very dramatic? It’s almost as if they’re trying to trick themselves into believing it.
We have a way of hiding our own traits and tendencies to ourselves. Deep down, we know, but we can lie to ourselves often enough to start believing those lies.
The same can be said about complaining. We all like to think we’re positive people who take responsibility for our lives and don’t waste time complaining, but that’s not true.
At least not for me. I love complaining. It’s cathartic, isn’t it?
You get to vent out all your feelings, place the blame on someone else, and exonerate yourself.
In a weird way, you develop an odd sense of superiority through complaining and self-pity.
Nothing’s your fault. You’re the righteous one because you’re managing to put up with these circumstances.
If we aren’t careful, our complaints can turn into badges of honor, and those badges can dig their way into our hearts and suck the life out of us.
Have the conversation with yourself. Do you get a perverse satisfaction out of complaining? Be honest. If you realize you do, the next step will be much easier.
Watch Your Mouth
We speak circumstances into existence. No, I don’t believe in the literal law of attraction, but the overall idea makes sense.
Whatever you constantly talk about has to have some effect on your behavior. Words influence us. Like advertisements, they go “unnoticed” but subtly invade our minds without even knowing it.
You create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
It’s a bit like the experience of someone saying the color brown and you instantly noticing everything brown in the room. Or when you buy a new car you all of the sudden see your make and model everywhere on the road.
The way we speak puts the subject of our speech in high definition while blurring out everything else.
Your complaints highlight what’s wrong and make it easy to find, all the while blurring out the massive opportunities around you.
While you’re complaining about how you don’t like your position, you fail to notice the new department opening up and don’t apply for it.
While you’re complaining about how hard it is to lose weight, you’re not working out.
You’re not going to solve the problem of complaining. I haven’t. But being mindful is a great first step.
When you start to notice how much you complain, it’s startling. I almost guarantee you underestimate how much you do it. From there, you can begin to wean yourself off of it, although never being able to eradicate it.
The Next Step
After you’ve used a few of these little tricks to put yourself in the right perspective, you still have a lot of work to do, right?
Ceasing to complain isn’t going to change your situation. You have to do that.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Changing your situation isn’t easy. It also isn’t hard.
It requires action and time.
Lots of action in a short amount of time can create a dramatic change, but you might burn out first.
A little action over a long period of time causes great change too but can be frustrating in the beginning until you start making progress.
The first act in the first moment usually does little to nothing, but it’s the seed of your personal transformation.
Often, the initial act is never performed or the journey ends soon after it. People usually don’t quit after sustained progress. They tend to quit almost immediately.
The answer to change? Don’t quit. It’s not sexy, but it’s true.
If you find yourself complaining and stuck in self-pity, begin the process again.
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Originally published at ayotheauthor.com on December 6, 2017.
Originally published at medium.com