All it took was one ballsy and honest friend to say to my face that I complain a LOT. “WTF, I don’t complain!? I’m just stating facts about what’s going on!” (That was my best excuse… I wasn’t complaining, I was stating facts). “There is traffic right now, it is cold, I did have a long day at school, I’m not complaining… I’m just talking about what’s going on… you asked me “whatsup” and I’m just answering it!”. And there it was: complaining about complaining, without even realizing it. I was also shocked because no one had ever told me this in my life with both disgust and hope for me to really HEAR this comment. It really offended me (even though I was also in the process of trying not to care what other people think). However, that comment was enough for me to try to change this habit the very next day (I was too pissed off to start right there and then).
So what did I do? I made the conscious decision to stop complaining. Easy right? Just like that. NOT… I woke up the next morning and the first thought to run through my head was “ugh, I don’t want to wake up so early”. Next thought “I’m so tired”. Next thought “it’s cold”. Next thought “my alarm sounds horrible”. Should I continue? But I still didn’t count those as complaints, I was just stating what was going on. I mean it was cold and I was tired… or was I?
Tired is a funny one, and the one that I had to start off with first. My friend told me I had still been complaining a few days later after I told him I was trying to stop. What came before that was him asking me how I was doing, and my response was a long sigh and me saying “I’m tired”. “YOU’RE COMPLAINING!!!” (He clearly has anger issues…). Within the next hour I realized how many times I told myself that I was tired (and how often that was my response when someone would ask me what sup, and I didn’t really know what to say)… but my eyelids weren’t getting heavy and I could still think clearly. I realized that it had just become a word that I told myself (like a filler when I wasn’t really thinking about anything important), and it was becoming my regular state of mind… “tired”. With that, my mood had always been “okay” or “fine”. But other people (VERY FEW) who also had full days of class and living that “student life” would feel great almost all the time! Don’t get me wrong, I would feel great on the daily…but at the times when I got home, ate, relaxed and maybe had a funny conversation with someone. I finally asked myself the questions, “Bish, why aren’t you happy AF 24/7?” (Obviously that’s not realistic because we do have a thing called hormones and EMOTIONS) but why wasn’t my general mood GREAT or AWESOME (without just saying that and really feeling it). I had to read some motivational books to prove to myself that that’s actually a thing (I do like my research). That people can generally be in a blissful state for most of the day while AT WORK or AT SCHOOL or AT THE GROCERY STORE etc.
“Well shoot, I want to feel that awesome. I feel blissful and happy when I indulged in booze and smoking so I know what that feeling is like, I know that great feeling of happiness and feeling chill and stress free. Why don’t I feel like that on the regular? Even though I’m grateful for what I’m doing, (being in California studying what I do), why does my general state just feel okay/fine”.
I guess an obvious answer (for me) to that question would be that I was not trying hard enough. I had become lazy by just getting by in my classes and giving myself more credit than I deserved, for my newfound standards. But, how do you be 100% honest with yourself by saying “bish, you are not being the best, you’re not even trying hard… and you haven’t been doing so for the past…year…two years, maybe even three”. That realization is hard because even though we all live that “#YOLO #noregrets” life, and have been happy for everything that has happened in our life, I had to know if my mind had been on pilot/cruise mode. And why that was. HOW had my thoughts gotten to a point of complaining about everything… and yes, those facts that seem like you’re just stating what’s going on, those are COMPLAINTS AKA you are BITCHING about anything and everything. I definitely was.
Become a Retired Complainer With Me:
I think recognizing what I now considered as complaining (and not just stating the shitty facts that were going on around me), and noticing whenever I did that, was the first step to changing this habit. Throughout the process, I realized that it was not going to happen over night, and that I couldn’t be hard on myself when I complain by accident here and there. That was doing the opposite of what I wanted. The point of this is to start feeling great… I had to learn to forgive myself for the mistakes I made when I was actually trying (major game changer). Day by day, I noticed myself complaining less. I stopped telling myself I was tired, and even found a trick by telling myself “I’m busy with all the cool stuff I’m doing right now” - which was true! Finding different ways to phrase things was key to helping me stop complaining and start feeling awesome. Another big game changer was feeling grateful… and not just saying it, but really feeling it… just like the type of grateful you consciously think about on thanksgiving. I tried feeling and thinking about that Thanksgiving feeling everyday (even started missing the food!). It was really cheesy when I read about it, but it was in so many “feel good/motivating books” that I had to try it, and when I did… it really did change my state of mind (but I had to really feel it, it didn’t work when I lied to myself or was vague and told myself I’m grateful for the shit that everyone else is grateful for. I had to be detailed and cater it to myself).
That’s really all it took…
Recognition of the things I didn’t consider complaints, but actually were (which was impossible for me to do myself… so I guess that anger management friend did something nice)
Changing the wording of sucky things (or just not even pointing them out at all)
Being grateful for things specific to me (like mastering the student/workout outfit, hilarious conversations with my friends, my morning coffee, consistent visual evidence of my top two abs etc.).
Having stopped this habit, my mind is free to not only focus on the positive things in life but also free to wander and be creative. I am able to focus on my work better because that underlying worry about complications has lessened. I am also able to be more productive because my gears have switched to problem solving instead of dwelling. I’ve also noticed that different type of people are starting to be drawn to me. People who are more focused on advancing themselves, growing and learning new things instead of those who seem stuck in the same place because they are concerned with too many small things and won’t let go.
As a retired complainer, I couldn’t imagine going back to to percentage of my time that I would bitch about things… I would just get annoyed of myself! What I find hilarious though, is that when people complain now, it’s almost as if they have a microphone! I notice I get really annoyed about people who complain now (how ironic, it’s actually something I have to try to not complain about!) … BUT a lot of that is coming from my own FRIENDS! And I never noticed this before… so watch out! I think it’s worth it for my new positive state of mind. Do you?