To “complain” means “to express dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, censure, resentment, or grief; find fault” (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/complain). Complaining is a problem in relationships, and in life in general. It is negative, draining, a real downer. So why do we do it? Usually, we complain as an attempted coping mechanism to try to ease negative emotions: stress, anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, etc. We try to vent. Get it out. Release it. Let it go. We do so in hopes it will help us feel better. However, there are 2 problems that result from complaining: 1) after an initial brief cathartic release, we usually end up actually intensifying and solidifying our negative attitudes and opinions about the situation, and 2) the other person or people we complain to usually get drug down as well, with the complaining acting a downer and a negative energy drain. So, complaining in general can be great to minimize or even eliminate in your life.
A classic story with complaining occurred in the Book of Mormon. While Lehi was travelling with his family in the wilderness, they dealt with hunger. Nephi broke his hunting bow, and Nephi’s brother’s bows lost their spring. Without an ability to hunt and get food, the hungry family “murmured” (complained). All except Nephi. Instead, Nephi got to work to resolve the dilemma. He built a new bow, asked the Lord where to hunt, successfully hunted, and brought back food to a grateful family. The moral of the story: faith + prayer + action is a far better formula for success with challenges than the typical complaining most people do. For more about the story of Nephi and the broken bow, see this article: https://www.ldsdimension.com/articles/applying-nephi-s-teaching-to-singles-244/.
Ideas to Lessen Complaining:
*When others complain, don’t get sucked in. Rather than agreeing and joining in, look for a way to move the conversation towards something more positive or even towards a different subject altogether.
*Be more careful about the subjects you bring up in the first place. Try to stay on more positive, hopeful topics. And if you catch yourself starting to complain, practice adding a “but” comment after the complaint to at least end the with something positive.
*Watch your thoughts. External complaining is usually an extension of inner complaints and negative thinking first. Be aware of the thoughts going through your head. Too often, negative thoughts are unexamined and exist without challenge. Instead, work to stop negative complaints at the source by catching the negative thought that precedes it.
*Improve your self-talk. Direct your thoughts and self-talk in more positive, constructive, productive directions. Take charge of the conversation that goes on in your head and move all negative, complaining thoughts over to something else. Ideally, something more hopeful and optimistic.
*Improve your thinking versus negativity. Embrace the idea that nothing positive ever came from something negative. Therefore, when you are tempted to either complain inside yourself or complain vocally, challenge yourself that such a path will be helpful. Instead, embrace the idea of “seeing the world thorough more rose colored glasses”. Optimism and expecting the best will help you cope with periodic negativity and setbacks.
*Become more strategic and solution focused. There is an old saying: “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”. Spend your focus, energy, and words on things that will help solve and resolves challenges, failures, hardships, and other difficulties. Remember that complaining never solved any problem and never made it better. Making it better is what makes it better.
*Let others know your goal to complain less. Let trusted friends and family members know of your goal and desire to complain less. That way, if they catch you being negative, they can respectfully remind you of your commitment and hold you accountable to help you get back on track. Because old habits can be hard to break, outside accountability partners can help you when you slip so you can get back on the path of improvement.
*Track your progress. On the notetaking app on your phone, have a goal to go the entire day each day without complaining out loud to anyone. Give yourself a “0” if you make it the entire day without complaining, and a “X” every time you complain. You will be amazed how tracking your complains will increase your self-awareness and help lessen the complaints you make.
*Get some hypnosis. You can listen to some quality hypnosis each night to help you complain less. An affordable, decent quality session on the subject can be found at: https://www.hypnosisdownloads.com/communication-skills/stop-complaining.
*Get spiritual help. Read the best story in the scriptures of the dramatic difference between a faithful, proactive approach to hardship (Nephi), versus a complaining approach to hardship (the rest of Nephi’s family). The story of Nephi breaking his bow can be found in I Nephi 16:18-32. Read this, and then pray to take the same positive approach that Nephi took. If needed, you can also talk to the bishop for help and even get a blessing for further spiritual support.
There are many reasons to complain less and be positive more. A very good reason is that no one wants to hear it. Also, complaining will just end up making you feel worse at the end. Follow the simple ideas in this little article to complain less and be more positive in general. You will be happier, and your future spouse will also appreciate it someday. And remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11.
P.S. If you have any questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).