Is It Possible To Stop Complaining?


I don’t know about you, but I always kind of hated those church talks that went something like this:

“And my mother, who had been bed ridden for a number of years never once complained…”

“And even though she was given more than her fair share of challenges, she didn’t complain…ever.”

“And even when she lost the use of her right leg and then she suddenly went blind, and then her favorite dog died all in the same week, she had so much faith that she never murmured even the tiniest complaint.”

…I guess I never found those kind of talks to be motivational, they mostly just made me feel guilty, because I complain about lots of stuff, lots. And I complain about things that are much less…well…life altering.

A few days ago I read a quote and it basically posed this question: Do people complain because they are unhappy? Or are they unhappy because they complain? 

It got me thinking.

For the past few weeks or so, I have really been trying to turn my normal pessimistic attitude into a positive one. I have been filling my mind with positive affirmations, listening to positive meditations, reading books about positive thinking…and I honestly think it is helping me to be a more happy person (which is something I desperately need right now…).

I’ve been doing pretty good with it, I think (for a life long pessimist).

But then, last night I started complaining.

It started off with me teasing my husband, joking around about some of the things I wanted him to get done around the house. I made one little comment, and then I thought of something else. So I made another comment, and that one led to another and then another. Until my mouth was just spilling out complaints and it really seemed like I could go on for-ev-er!  It was weird. It was like that first comment was a little trickle of water, a little drop in a bucket. But as soon the water started to spill, there was no way to stop it. It started gushing out, pouring out until the bucket was overflowing. All of a sudden I started to feel angry and upset, a little bit hurt and offended. It started off as just a comment, just an itty bitty complaint, nothing to be angry about. And wow, it turned into something a lot bigger. It was eye opening for me as I watched it all unfold.

As I allowed myself to complain I could feel my happiness draining out of me along with each complaint. 

I guess what I am trying to say, is that maybe all those talks about incredible women who are so full of faith and hope and love and NO COMPLAINING when things got tough, maybe they figured out this little secret a little faster than I did. Maybe they chose happiness over misery and that happiness began with their choice to not complain. Maybe they knew that if they started to complain they wouldn’t be able to stop. Maybe they knew that if they complained they would lose their faith and their happiness and their hope.

I think my whole life I have thought people who didn’t complain were just these super human people who were born with such an incredible positive outlook on life…they were lucky…and it would be impossible (in every sense of the word) to be like them. But I think now, that maybe I just had it backwards. Maybe it doesn’t take an incredibly happy person to not complain, maybe it takes an incredibly good non-complainer to be happy.

You know what the opposite of complaining is?

Being Grateful. 

Just something to think about :-)


  1. That’s some seriously good food for thought there, my friend! Btw, have you read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin? It’s a pretty quick read and you might enjoy it.


  2. The first 2 I totally did; went to ceoglle for a job to get by and had my kids. #3 I’m struggling with. I think it will only work if you have a person on the other end you can hash it out with. If you don’t I’m not sure how well it would work. I totally see myself telling my kids to go to ceoglle. I don’t think any of them will have the drive to be a Dr or know so soon what they want to be and I agree University isn’t the place for that. For me, I’m thinking of going back to University for something totally different than what I do now and I think that is totally ok and kind of cool. :)Great post!


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