Do you remember the last time you complained? And do you remember why you complained? Usually we complain when we are unhappy or discontent about a certain situation. Sometimes we express our discontent to someone, to make the situation better. Like when you complain to the waiter that your coffee is cold, who then brings you a new, nice and warm coffee - problem solved, situation improved.
But often we complain without any urge or motive to make things better. Like when we complain about the cold wetter, or the lack of sunshine. Or when we complain about the noise the neighbors make, but we don’t confront them with it. Or when we complain about our jobs, but we don't actually quit the job or look for a different one.
Some people say that when you are discontent, or unhappy with a situation, you should change the situation (like quitting and finding another job). In other cases some would say that you should accept and embrace the situation and your feelings. We could all ask ourselves the question what the best way to deal with discontentment would be.
But perhaps a more probing question is: are you aware of all the times that you are complaining? Regardless of whether it is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ thing to be discontent and to complain. Do you actually realize that you are complaining? And moreover, are you aware of the effect this has, let’s say, on your mood, your mind, your body, your interaction with other people or your willingness to find a solution?
Often complaining creeps up on us like a bad habit. We think we’re all butterflies and unicorns, but when we take a closer look, we complain a lot. Whether we think complaining is a helpful tool or just an annoying habit is not the interesting part. What I would like to advocate is Mindful Complaining.
Mindful complaining means that you are aware of the act of complaining when it happens, and you are aware of the effect it has on your system. Without judgement, just observing and noticing. Because as soon as you have this awareness, you can decide if you actually want to complain or not. You can decide if you want (for example) your mood to be affected by complaining. This is something that actually always comes up during life coaching sessions as well, because an unconscious way of doing, often leads to struggles in life. So becoming conscious of your complaining behavior, will lead to an immense amount of freedom in deciding how you want to act and feel, instead of being subjected to unconscious thoughts.
And who knows, perhaps once you become more aware of your complaining-behavior, you will complain less (or more, because you absolutely love it). Or maybe you realize you have been stuck in a situation that deserves a change.
Who knows. The freedom is yours.