Complaining in an Effective Way
Back in 2014, one of the things I noticed when I logged into Facebook and twitter over the New Year period was the amount of whining that went on. The sheer volume of people that were writing about how awful 2014 had been was incredible to me. I was staggered at how many people were citing all the things that they disliked about 2014 and how it had been an awful year and gave an air of being powerless to it all. Like the year happened TO them. Like they were passive recipients to the year that happened.
I am not one to just ignore anything bad that happened, but in every year we can find something that is laudable and that can be celebrated in an appropriate fashion. We can be honest about our year of course, and there is no need to try to disillusion ourselves that things were great if they were not, but the whining about it is something that may actually kick off the new year in a very bad way for your mental health and emotional well-being. Let me explain…
We can all complain, but learn to complain in an effective way. In a solution focused way at least. Recognise that there is a great difference from complaining effectively and just whining in a way that could be detrimental to our health and make us rather unpleasant to be around.
Effective complaining requires us to voice fair and legitimate dissatisfaction while actively seeking and aiming for a resolution of some kind. By voicing legitimate dissatisfaction without that desired outcome of a healthy resolution, we are merely venting. Effective complaining looks for a resolution, whining is just incessant venting. Often with whining, there’s no reason or purpose to it. The distinction is significant because complaining, venting, and whining, have very different effects on our psychological and emotional well-being.
How Complaining can Effect Our Mental Health
We all complain many times a day to our families, friends, colleagues, taxi drivers, Facebook connections and even strangers at the shopping checkout. Many of us seem to be unaware that the way we voice our complaints can effect our mental health and emotional well-being.
Despite many people’s seeming reluctance to complain, (especially here in England where polite, ‘stiff upper lippedness’ is how we are characterised) the truth is that people complain today more than ever. Does complaining help us get what we want or what will make us happier though? Often, complainers tend to find themselves repeating the same complaints, grievances and dissatisfaction to one person after the other as they attempt to vent and be free of the frustration. Usually though, by repeating the complaint, we are simply reliving the frustration and the grievance all over again and perhaps making us feel worse as a result.
For some reason, people tend to identify with the idea of venting a lot more easily than they identify with the idea of effectively solving problems. Most people tend to complain as a means of ‘getting stuff off their chests’ rather than actually attempting to create beneficial change.
Research shows that when people are dissatisfied with a product, 95% of them fail to complain to the company or retailer because of fear that doing so will be annoying and time consuming, and those people often believe they will not get the outcome they want by complaining. Likewise, people generally tend to avoid complaining directly to our loved ones. The fear is that voicing such complaints only leads to arguments and does not resolve anything. Instead, many reach for the phone to call friends and vent to them, or go out with friends and vent to them, or vent their thoughts and feelings on Facebook and other social media outlets. Such is the brief means of communicating with social media that the complexity of issues are often missed, and others can misunderstand and misinterpret.
There are so many things people complain about each day; the weather, public services, levels of traffic, our partner, our children, our friends, work colleagues, films you disliked, TV shows featuring annoying people, poor customer service, poor products, news items, government, politics, rival hypnotherapy schools doing a disservice to the field (I think that’s just me) and the list goes on and on.
Here’s the thing…. When we feel powerless in the face of so much dissatisfaction and frustration, we are left feeling without support, without hope, like a victim; we feel bad about ourselves. A single, isolated incident won’t effect our mental health in a negative way, but with so much ongoing whining building up day upon day, it can lead to frustration and helplessness that impacts our mood, our self-esteem, and even our general mental health. Much of which also tends to lead to more whining!
Effectively Resolving Issues by Complaining Effectively
Yet in the past when we have effectively resolved an issue, or healthily voiced a complaint to your partner that led to an advancement of your relationship, that solution focused complaint with a healthy outcome led you to feeling good about yourself, didn’t it? It beneficially effected your life.
Just as whining may negatively effect our emotional well-being and mental health, complaining effectively and achieving effective resolutions can be incredibly empowering and it can affect our mood and self-esteem for the better. Further, learning to complain effectively to our loved ones will do wonders for our relationships.
All it takes to turn pointless whining into complaints that solve problems and create change is to learn the tools and techniques to complain effectively. Many of the articles that I share here in Adam Up do that and there are many more on my blog or that are written by other authors out there in the world.
Effective complaining can also be fun, even hilarious and tantalising at times! Effective complaining is the ability to share our raw truth, express deep sincere feelings, be vulnerable and share with those you love or who you value. It is about embracing those inner feelings and trying to figure them out, so you can create a beneficial and satisfactory resolution.
It can sometimes require us to muster up a lot of courage. It requires us to understand our own reality. It requires us to talk openly and honestly. It requires us to want to make things right. It sometimes means going against the grain a little bit.
Some people do not realise they are whining incessantly. A great way to actually work it out is to use a mental imagery process. Evidence tends to suggest that mental imagery is made more vivid with the aid of hypnosis and it helps focus the process, so enjoy this hypnosis audio track to help you turn from whiner to effective complainer today!