There are some people, it seems, who make complaining a new art form. My mom called these people kvetchers, which in Yiddish means to pinch or squeeze. How appropriate. Don’t you just picture a complainer as tense and tight?
My mom, the West Coast Distributer of Guilt, was always saying to me, “Quit your kvetching,” so, I don’t do a lot of complaining. Conversely, that means I don’t have a lot of patience for those who are habitual whiners, and I tend to steer clear of them. I know, that’s not very compassionate, but I’m a product of my upbringing and a work in progress. Besides, when you spend too much time around complainers, it can be catching and I don’t want that to happen.
Now that’s not to say we don’t all complain from time to time. Complaining can serve a purpose, allowing us to see a problem and take action to find a solution, and it helps us to let off a little steam. I’m talking about the chronic kind, the type of person who complains for the sake of complaining, without any solution or action in mind. Those that see what’s wrong with everything, instead of what’s right.
Complaining can take all the fun out of life. When you’re focused on what’s wrong, it’s easy to miss the good things that come your way. And as in any behavior, it becomes a habit when repeated over and over. In time, chronic complainers become attracted, almost addicted, to the drama around complaining. It’s all about re-wiring the brain … science baby.
In fact, studies show that happy people seldom complain, and because this is “Happiness Happens Month” it’s time to flip the dialogue on complaining. Begin by becoming aware of the times you complain and strive to complain less, only when you believe it will lead to positive changes. Then consider this four step approach:
Challenge yourself to fix it. It’s easy to complain about everything, but much more difficult to fix it, so get to the root of the issue and make the necessary changes.
Find the positive in the situation. That’s the key to keep complaining from going chronic. You might have to dig a little deeper than what’s on the surface to uncover the good.
Practice contentment. Think about all the blessings in your life and be content about them. You have so much to be thankful for.
Be open to what others have to say. Complaining may have become so much a part of your life, you don’t even notice it’s all you do. When someone talks with you about it, really listen without judgment or becoming defensive.
As far as how to deal with a chronic complainer, I really don’t have much advice other than limit your time with them. There are those that see what’s not working and those that see what is. Which one are you?