As it turns out, those of us who complain a lot have negative thoughts running through our brains much of the time. These negative thoughts compel us to say them aloud frequently. But this just begets more negativity. Luckily, life doesn’t have to be that way!
So how do we end up like this, anyway? Complaining doesn’t feel good…or does it?
Here’s a parallel: Have you ever eaten extremely healthy for a week or more? Do you remember what it was like when you went back to eating junk? You felt horrible at first, but as you kept eating junk food, you started to like it again. Eventually, you even started craving it.
Negative thoughts and the resulting complaining are addictive, but they can be removed from your life. There are two things you can do to successfully eliminate complaining:
- Get your negative thoughts under control.
- Take full responsibility for the things in your life that you don’t like.
Negative thoughts can be challenging to eliminate. You’ll need to be diligent and patient with yourself.
This process will help you stop both the negative thoughts and the complaining:
1. Resolve to change. Decide in your heart that you want to eliminate negative thoughts from your life. Recognize that they accomplish nothing other than making you (and others!) feel bad.
2. Recognize them when they appear, without getting emotional. Notice as quickly as possible that you’re having a negative thought. Stop yourself before you go any further. If you don’t stop, you may start thinking thoughts like, “What’s wrong with me? Why do I always do that?” Simply notice that you are having negative thoughts.
3. Look for a solution. Always focus on the solution. If you’re thinking, “The yard looks horrible,” then brainstorm some solutions to make your place look better.
The truth is you can only think about one thing at a time. If you’re focused on solutions, you can’t think about the problem. Once the problem is solved, there’s nothing left to be negative about.
Of course, this is easier said than done, but 30 days of conscious effort are enough to instill a new mental habit. When you’ve done 30 days, shoot for 31! Before you know it, your whole life will feel more positive.
Taking responsibility for the challenges in your life may seem unappealing. After all, who wants to believe that the bad stuff is their own fault? But if you believe you created the challenge, then you can eliminate it. If you blame someone else, you’re just stuck.
Taking responsibility is an immensely powerful thing. This is really the ultimate in freedom. Through responsibility, you can change anything in your life. Your happiness isn’t dependent on other people or circumstances in general.
We all have a choice. Do you want sympathy for creating a life that’s full of misery and challenge, or do you want a pat on the back for creating a spectacular life?
Ridding yourself of complaining and negative thoughts can take some work. Most habits can become addictive after a while. But by choosing to take control over your negative thoughts, you can focus on solutions. Consequently, your life will improve in many ways.