Am I an Irrational Complainer (October, 2017)
Some people are constant complainers. Irrespective of place, time or condition, such a person will always find something that’s not right. It could be food, weather, traffic, politics, latest customs, school, friends, office, boss, colleagues, friends, or even their own family members, there is always something that is wrong. While building opinion is good and having action oriented discussions is even better, some people do complain and criticize just for the sake of it. Unbeknownst, they are not only abhorred but also become butt of jokes. They continue to think they are among the smartest for being chronic critical. Do you know someone who fits the bill? Hold on! Before you think of someone, let’s look at the person you see in the mirror. Does that person complain? Think critically. Do you complain about food, clothes, teachers… Yes, the topic for this month’s assignment is “Am I an Irrational Complainer?”.
Despite what one may think [about oneself], being a constant complainer and compulsive fault-finder is not a much appreciated quality. As the conversations with such persons generally sap energy, people try to avoid complainers unless they are looking for some sadistic fun out of the complainer’s behavior. Even those who express sympathy on the face when a person complains, often, they despise him. Yes, one must attempt to get rid of this maligned quality.
Should one not be critical and ever complain then? No, it is a crucial part of one’s evolution. Unfortunately, it is an ever important skill that generally takes a wrong turn somewhere while developing. As a human grows, he/she starts to develop an analytical skill to evaluate and label things around: people, behaviors, environments etc. But somewhere this skill turns into a despicable nature.
How things go wrong? As such, being able to evaluate and criticize wrong behavior is not only a natural part of brain development but also essential for one’s survival. For instance, to survive, it is vital for a kid to develop understanding of friendly vs. hostile behaviors of people. As he grows, he learns from parents and surrounding experiences what acceptable and unacceptable behaviors are. Slowly, he also learns how to react when undesirable things happen. For instance, if parents frequently complain about traffic, he not only takes it as an acceptable behavior but also thinks that he is expected to do so as he matures. TV programs, friends, and environments help shape [often imperfectly] his perspective on being critical. This is how a skill that could have helped him become an aware citizen who would take actions to improve society, leads to his downfall.
How can I get rid of my quality of irrationally (unreasonable) complaining?
- First, I must pay heed to input. When someone who cares for me (like, parents, siblings, or close friends) tells me or passes me a comment relating to my complaining nature, I must pay close attention. I must not ignore them as such qualities are observed first by those who are close to me. It is better to catch and fix it before it becomes an immutable quality. Whenever a particular behavior is cited, I must pause and think: think how I would feel if someone else complained about the same thing. Often, I will get the correct answer.
- Second, become conscious. Once I understand that I have a quality to fix, I must become conscious. Whenever I spot myself complaining unnecessarily about some situation that is either not bad in the first place (like not having the latest video games) or something I cannot do anything about (like, raining on a day I was supposed to go to beach), I must pay attention to my feelings and temper at that time. Words have direct impact on feelings and sensation. When a person complains, he feels the heat of words on his mind and body.
- Third, after becoming conscious of my feeling, I must work on my outlook. Whenever I catch myself complaining – or about to complain – I must think of all the things that are still beautiful in the same situation. For instance, if my parents didn’t buy me the latest video game, I can think of how many people in the world have bare necessities let alone a game console. If my parents are not as cool as my friend’s parents, I can think of my parents’ qualities that none of other parents have. For sure, I wouldn’t feel like complaining – and to the contrary, I would feel extremely thankful for what I have.
- If despite all of the above steps, I still find myself behaving wrongly, I must speak with and seek help from my parents (or well-wishers) who can help me in my journey towards better-me. Also, I must pray to God to illuminate my intellect and give me courage to undertake the righteous path. There is nothing in this world that an aware and committed person cannot achieve.
I am looking forward to hearing enlightening thoughts of our group kids.