Radical Life Change Ingredient #3
This might be one of the most powerful practices I’ve found yet, and I’m still amazed at how dramatically situations can shift once I make the choice to stop complaining about them.
I believe that complaining is an act of magick. All of the magickal ingredients are present: intention, focus, and energy.
When you complain, you are crafting an intention, albeit one that is aligned with what you’re hoping to avoid. As my mother once heard a pastor say, “Complaining is praying for what you don’t want.”
Let’s look at a common complaint: “My job sucks.” When you get caught in a complaining loop, you end up repeating this complaint like a mantra, and you are crafting the intent of experiencing a job that sucks. This is no different than using affirmations such as, “I am healthy on all levels” or “I love myself” in the hopes of generating those experiences.
When you complain, you also have the second ingredient, focus. How often do we get fixated on our complaints, repeating them in our minds and to whomever will listen? If we’re really stuck on a situation, it can be hard to focus on anything but our complaints!
And finally, energy. Have you ever seen someone in the middle of a complaining rant? Their eyes get wider, they talk faster, they might start to sweat a little. Talk about generating energy! And if they’re complaining to someone else who is joining in and taking their side, that person is contributing energy to the pot, too.
This is one of the reasons why I believe complaining is so incredibly powerful in manifesting what you don’t want: you’re essentially working a magickal spell! This is also why, when you stop complaining, things start to shift in major ways.
How to Stop Complaining
Now, simply white knuckling it through the urge to complain isn’t ideal, here. When we complain, we are trying to distance ourselves from directly experiencing our emotions. This might sound counterintuitive, but think about it like this: When we complain about something, we tell a story about the situation. This story presents a layer of separation between us and the situation. No longer are we directly experiencing it; now we’re the narrator, and this gives us a (false) sense of control and remove.
It’s actually quite rare for most of us to simply sit with whatever emotions are arising in response to a situation. Instead, we have to tell someone about it; overanalyze the situation to death; or distract ourselves by keeping busy, eating, getting on Facebook, etc.
When we have the courage to sit with our feelings, allowing them to arise without narrating them, they will naturally pass. Feelings don’t want to stick around; it’s in their nature to be fluid and ephemeral. But when we attach by resisting or telling repetitive stories, emotions get stuck.
So, the antidote to complaining is to experience our feelings directly. The next time you are faced with a situation that pushes your complaint button, take a time out. Walk around the block if you need to–just break the habit of automatically diving into complaining and storytelling.
Instead, focus on your immediate experience. Is anxiety fluttering in your stomach? Maybe anger is causing your throat to burn. Be a witness to the sensations arising in your body and your mind, and see how, as you remain present with them, they begin to fade of their own accord.
Couple this practice with actively disengaging from complaining, meaning that when you get the urge to complain, mindfully choose to sit with your feelings and abstain from complaining, no matter how much your habit is kicking and screaming. Trust that by not indulging the habit, you are making this process that much easier the next time, and you are dramatically shifting the course of future events.
The less you complain, the less you will draw things into your life that you’ll want to complain about.