Have you ever thought you complain too much? Maybe you’ve noticed (or someone has pointed it out) that complaining has become second nature. Honestly, it isn’t your fault, and it’s actually part of how our society is wired. A couple of the big problems with complaining are that it is draining and can hurt the relationships around you. Many people are naturally negative, and our society is geared toward the negative. Any local or national news station tells you that. Most breaking news lead with headlines of doom and gloom and it isn’t very often you hear a story with a positive twist. I know it is hard for me sometimes even to watch the news because I get so angry when I see what people are capable of doing. I can turn uncaring or indifferent because I just don’t know what do with how I am feeling.
As a Christian, I am called to care and to take a different path—a path of love and gratitude without complaining. But it can be difficult to break the habit of complaining, especially if you are going through a rough patch in life.
To better understand complaining and how to stop let’s first take a look at the different types of complainers. See if you can identify which category you can relate to the most.
4 Types of Complainers
- The Martyr – This is my favorite, only because it fits me best and nobody is better than I am at throwing a pity party. I also like to call this the poor me mentality.
- The Whiner – Since life isn’t fair then I might as well complain about it rather than do something about it mentality.
- The Cynic – If it is just going to get dirty again then why to bother cleaning it up and nothing will ever change mentality.
- The Perfectionist – Nagging, arguing and complaining are all typical of a perfectionist. If nothing is ever right or your kids are complaining non-stop, ask yourself who their example may be?
How to Stop Complaining in 5 Easy Steps
The first step, and typically the hardest, is admitting there is a problem. Not somebody else’s problem but your problem. Proverbs 28:13 “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance.”
I can honestly admit, my wife and I have gone a few rounds pointing out some complaining issues in one another. Of course, the typical first response is denial but I know deep down I tend to complain when things aren’t going right or done the way I think they ought to be.
I think of the Israelites in the desert for 40 years after being rescued from slavery in Egypt. It wasn’t very long before they began to complain and think life as a slave would be better than living in the desert. Their grumblings led God to leave them in the desert for 40 years until the generation died off.
Step 2 – Accept responsibility for your own actions. How many times have you heard someone complaining about how terrible their life is because of what another person did? People with a victim mentality have a difficult time accepting responsibility for their actions and blame their own stupid mistakes on others.
For some, it is easier to pass the blame than accept the fact they aren’t in control, that they are being controlled by something or someone. Or they simply refuse to accept responsibility for their actions because they don’t think they are hurting anyone but themselves.
Step 3 – Develop an attitude of gratitude. This is a sore subject for me because it doesn’t take much before I slip into a selfish state of being. I tend to always want more, and I worry too much about the future — the wanting and worry often leads to complaining. God wants us to live in the present where we are most effective.
Step 4 – When I started working for the company I do now I could see God’s hand all over the circumstances. It’s hard to complain when you are looking for God’s hand in your circumstances. I know it isn’t always easy to find the good in your experiences, especially if you are going through a divorce, but there signs all around — you just need to look for them. God is working for good, and it is important that we realize this and understand God will finish what He started and it will be better than any of us can imagine.
Step 5 – Buy a bunch of self-help books on positivity… (okay, not really) But do practice being positive. Identify the things that cause you to complain and work on changing that nagging inner voice that’s telling you how terrible things are. It’s impossible to shut it off completely, but you can have the light at the end of the tunnel telling you things are going to be okay.
Why Putting a Stop to Complaining is Important
Complaining leads to arguing and it spreads to the whole family and those close to you. It isn’t much fun to spend day after day bitching and griping. It doesn’t take long for a perfectly good day to turn to crap. When your life becomes about complaining, then that’s a good sign that you are focusing on what you don’t have rather than what you do have. Complaining makes you forget about God’s goodness and all that He has provided – the opposite of gratitude. Do you question whether or not God loves you? God is a loving, wise, and gracious God. So what kind of message are you sending? One of fear and negativity or one of trust and faith? Trust God and His plan!