Stop Complaining — Parent & Family Wellness Center

“Here’s a Trick. Stop complaining.”

This is my favorite line Elizabeth Gilbert’s wonderful book, Big Magic.

If you’re still reading, you’re either so pissed off by that statement that you want to see what other insulting things I’ve written, or you’re so shocked that I’d defend something that you want to see if I has really gone off the deep end.

Well, neither.

From a therapeutic perspective, there is a difference between complaining and meditation.

Reflect, people. Reflect, reflect, reflect. Say it out loud, write about it, and think about the ways in which your life isn’t working for you. Reflect on the exhaustion, the helpless moments of baby tantrums and newborn cries, the missed communication with your partner, and your loss of sense of self. because reflect It means that you pay attention to all of them, and finally you can light those things so that you can do them do something about them.

But complaining is a waste of energy. And it brings you nothing but deeper into despair. Complaining isn’t reflection, it’s blaming. It’s like complaining “I can’t sleep anymore because my son is always crying.” “My baby is so stubborn, he won’t listen.” “My partner is an asshole, they don’t get it.”

If you are, or have ever been, stuck in complaining like me, you know that when we complain we put the responsibility for change on everyone, and really do no jump start relief.

So, here’s the trick: Stop complaining.

Instead, be curious:

  • I notice how tired I am. Is there anything I can do to sleep better?

  • I notice that we are having my toddler in power. Do I have a part in that?

  • I feel like my partner doesn’t understand me. Is there a way I can communicate differently?

Let me be clear: This is not a blame and shame game and it absolutely is no about shifting blame from blaming others to blaming yourself. But the only two things you really have control over are your own thoughts and your own behaviors. So if you are unhappy with the way things are (which makes sense, by the way) then reflect and take action.

This will start the movement in the right direction. I promise.

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