Stop whining, start smiling

In this month’s blog our resident Healing Coach, Francesca Garola, Founder of HappyBalancedLife, tells us how to stop complaining and turn that negative energy into a positive.

Francesca Garola sat on steps

This month’s theme is “WHINING”… want to join me in a challenge?! I’m going to keep the focus on the working environment, but you will see that most things can be applied in everyday life too.

How many times a day do you find yourself complaining about something? Whether it’s work, partner, friends, family, kids, weather, politics, stuff in general. And, how many times a day do you listen to someone complaining?

I may be wrong, however, I’m guessing the answer is: LOADS!

Let’s be honest, sometimes the easiest thing to do is hide behind a complaint – whether it’s a client who is too demanding, a venue which is too strict, a supplier which just does not get you, your boss who is not human enough…

And honestly, your complaints might be well-founded but is complaining about it helping you change the situation? Is complaining about the-job-you-cannot-stand going to deliver you your dream job? Is complaining about how your colleague is trying to steal your client leading to increased revenues? Is complaining about how your work should be valued more, getting you more recognition?

“When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it. All else is madness.” Eckhart Tolle

A short reminder from previous posts: we do what we do because it satisfies one or more needs we have at this specific point in time and we do it because somehow it’s giving us pleasure – yes, it does even though you do not know it yet!

Complaining, believe it or not, lifts us up as it generally validates us. A complaining conversation brings on even more complaining. “How amazing! I must be right, other people think like me too!” “You see, I am totally right, they are all so wrong!”

We generally complain because we need to feel valued, we need to feel understood and we need to feel that we’re not alone in our pain.

Please note that there is a huge difference between complaining and critical thinking. They can both be destructive if not dealt with, or they can be shifted to positive change when actually dealing with them. You see, we need critical thinking to improve. If we never had any critics and everything was always beautiful and amazing, there would be no evolution and no change.

The main objective is how to get from ‘a complaining just for the sake of complaining which makes you feel better’ to ‘a complaining that allows you broaden your vision and the vision of those around you’.

  1. The 5 Minutes Rule

A while ago I was working on an event far away from home. We had a super-solid group of colleagues and we used to find so much comfort in complaining about other colleagues and about how disorganised they were, how little fun they were, and the list can go on and on.

At some point during the conversations, I stopped and asked myself: “what is the point of all this whining? Is talking bad about people really making us feel better?”

And there it was. The simple concept of compassion came on board and a crazy idea came to mind. I stopped everyone in the conversation and shared with all of my beautiful group of colleagues (which by the way are awesome!) that (a) I was actually tired of complaining; (b) that these low vibration conversations did not really improve our everyday life and that (c) we were going to install a “5 minutes complaining rule”. If anything major came up during the day we could call on an extra complaining session. We only had 5 minutes a day… OMG, how were we going to survive?

  1. What can we do to change the situation?

It was not enough to limit the complaining. After each “complaining session” we had to answer the hardest question of all: what can we do to improve the situation?

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Maya Angelou

Unless we take action to change/improve/resolve the situation, we avoid taking responsibility for it and we keep stagnating in the same old story trying to find comfort in our pain, putting our pain onto others (which by the way, generally have never asked us to infuse them with our whining wisdom!) and become the victims of our lives!

  1. Your voice can be heard

We are all so afraid to speak up, to say what we think. We always think that “things will never change”, or even better “who I am to change this”. Truth is… if we go to our boss whining, pointing the finger and blabbering nonsense, we will possibly not change the situation. However, if we use the process of complaining => what’s the lesson => what can the growth be => new possibilities, we might find a great deal of resourcefulness in critical thinking and even our boss might find your insights useful.

  1. Let go of the bitterness

I’ve rarely seen people complain with a smile on their face. Generally whining brings on anger, bitterness, irritability and increases susceptibility. When you find yourself in “complaining-mode”, stop for a second, feel the emotion, let it run through you and then find a reason to flip the switch and move forward towards infinite possibilities. When talking about a problem with an infinity thinking mindset, you let go of the bitterness and replace it instead with passion and purpose.

Complaining totally drains our energy, and it brings other people down. We complain to release the stress, when we complain we generally find validation from others, when we are validated we feel better and we repeat the process.

I might have said it on earlier posts, it is much easier to complain about a situation, than finding the strength to change it.

Let me share a new possible way to deal with complaining:

5 Minutes Complaining => What would be the ideal outcome => What can I do to change the situation => Solutions => Growth => Increased Happiness = > Decrease Complaints

How to introduce this within companies:

  • Organise team meetings to bring any issues out into the open and allow everybody to contribute to the resolutions
  • Formalise a guideline for acceptable and unacceptable behaviours within the office, which will be inclusive not exclusive
  • Everyone needs to be given a voice and be encouraged to actively participate to a positive working environment
  • Follow up with regular team meetings and feedback to monitor success or new challenges that may arise.

It is really SUPER SIMPLE!

With love and light,

Francesca xo