Perhaps the most important step in quitting the habit of complaining is to disconnect the undesirable behavior of negativity from your identity. A common mistake chronic complainers make is to self-identify with the negative thoughts running through their minds. Such a person might admit, “I know I’m responsible for my thoughts, but I don’t know how to stop myself from thinking negatively so often.” That seems like a step in the right direction, and to a certain degree it is, but it’s also a trap. It’s good to take responsibility for your thoughts, but you don’t want to identify with those thoughts to the point you end up blaming yourself and feeling even worse.
A better statement might be, “I recognize these negative thoughts going through my mind. But those thoughts are not me. As I raise my awareness, I can replace those thoughts with positive alternatives.” You have the power to recondition your thoughts, but the trick is to keep your consciousness out of the quagmire of blame. Realize that while these thoughts are flowing through your mind, they are not you. You are the conscious conduit through which they flow.
Although your thoughts are not you, if you repeat the same thoughts over and over again, they will condition your mind to a large extent. It’s almost accurate to say that we become our dominant thoughts, but I think that’s taking it a bit too far.
Consider how the foods you eat condition your body. You aren’t really going to become the next meal you eat, but that meal is going to influence your physiology, and if you keep eating the same meals over and over, they’ll have a major impact on your body over time. Your body will crave and expect those same foods. However, your body remains separate and distinct from the foods you eat, and you’re still free to change what you eat, which will gradually recondition your physiology in accordance with the new inputs.
This is why negativity is so addictive. If you keep holding negative thoughts, you condition your mind to expect and even crave those continued inputs. Your neurons will even learn to predict the reoccurrence of negative stimuli. You’ll practically become a negativity magnet.
I think most people who are stuck in this trap will remain stuck until they experience an elevation in their consciousness. They have to recognize that they’re trapped and that continuing to fight their own negativity while still identifying with it is a battle that can never be won. Think about it. If beating yourself up for being too whiny was going to work, wouldn’t it have worked a long time ago? Are you any closer to a solution for all the effort you’ve invested in this plan of attack?
Consequently, the solution I like best is to stop fighting and surrender. Instead of resisting the negativity head-on, acknowledge and accept its presence. This will actually have the effect of raising your consciousness.
You can actually learn to embrace the negative thoughts running through your head and thereby transcend them. Allow them to be, but don’t identify with them because those thoughts are not you. Begin to interact with them like an observer.
It’s been said that the mind is like a hyperactive monkey. The more you fight with the monkey, the more hyper it becomes. So instead just relax and observe the monkey until it wears itself out.
Negativity needn’t be a permanent condition. You still have the freedom to choose otherwise. In practice this realization normally happens in layers of unfolding awareness. You begin to accept and embrace more and more responsibility for your life.
Assuming total responsibility
You see… the real solution to complaining is responsibility. You must say (and mean it), “I want to accept more responsibility for everything in my experience.”
Here are some examples of what I mean by accepting responsibility:
• If I’m unhappy, it’s because I’m creating it.
• If there’s a problem in the world that bothers me, I’m responsible for fixing it.
• If someone is in need, I’m responsible for helping them.
• If I want something, it’s up to me to achieve it.
• If I want certain people in my life, I must attract and invite them to be with me.
• If I don’t like my present circumstances, I must end them.
On the flip side, it may also help to take responsibility for all the good in your life. The good stuff didn’t just happen to you. You created it. Well done.
Pat yourself on the back for what you like, but don’t feel you must pretend to enjoy what you clearly don’t like. But do accept responsibility for all of it… to the extent you’re ready to do so.
Complaining is the denial of responsibility. And blame is just another way of excusing yourself from being responsible. But this denial still wields its own creative power.
When you catch yourself complaining, stop and ask yourself if you want to continue to deny responsibility for your reality or to allow a bit more responsibility back onto your plate. Maybe you’re ready to assume more responsibility, and maybe you aren’t, but do your best to make that decision consciously. Do you want sympathy for creating what you don’t want, or do you want congratulations for creating what you do want?