We all complain. It's part of the human experience. Our neighbor's dog poops on our lawn, the local stores raised their prices again, and our laptop just broke down and the repair technician is charging us a fortune. So we need to complain just a little. But sometimes we get into the habit of complaining, over and over and over again, and it becomes part of our daily life. Nobody wants to be "that person." The negativity is not good for you, and it's likely to bring down your loved ones, as well.
How can you tell if you're in "complaint overdrive?" Here are some of the signs:
1. You always see the glass as half empty.
When you begin running in the negative fast lane, you're going to find that you're fueled by complaints. Take a moment to assess if you always find the flaw in everything, even if it's "mostly good." Self-awareness is the first step in solving everything, and the sooner you 'fess up about your dismal outlook or expectations that something is going to go wrong, the sooner you can take a step back.
2. People point out your complaint levels.
Complaining isn't an intervention-worthy problem, but if your friends are keeping it real with you, they are likely going to mention that you like to complain. Maybe too much. They may tell you in a serious manner, or a joking manner, but they'll begin to hint at it. When people begin to mention that you'd find something to complain about if you won the lottery or got the job of your dreams, it may be time to rethink your outlook.
3. People are avoiding you.
If you find that people no longer wish to spend time with you, or they have stopped inviting you to parties and other events, it may be a sign you're complaining and whining too much. If this is happening, it's best to be brutally honest and ask your friends if this is the truth. Better to know exactly what's going on, so you can address the issue.
4. Your friends are competing with you for the complaint title.
Look at the people you surround yourself with. Is everyone around you, well, dramatic? Do you simply get together over drinks or dinner to validate one another's problems and tell each other how unfair the world is? When you and your friends talk more negatively than positively, you should be concerned. This is the ideal time to rethink your relationships.
5. Barriers are all you see.
What is the basis of your perspective? Do you see the challenges or the road before you as a barrier? Do you feel that your life is one challenge after another instead of one adventure after another? Our perspective serves as the foundation for sinking into the pattern of becoming a chronic complainer. When life is barrier-focused it means we see every change as a problem that needs to be fixed. We look into the future and see a brick wall. We apply for the job but don't think we'll get it. We want to meet someone great but don't see it ever happening.
Sure, it's easy to avoid the signs that reveal our current state of being. However, the rewards that are waiting for us when we shift our perspective and take on a fresh view are exciting. It takes just a single dose of optimism to help lessen the effects of a complaint.