How to Stop Complaining

Gratitude is not our default setting. Complaining is.

Do you have a problem with complaining? I know that I do unless I’m intentional about taking my thoughts captive. Over the last several weeks and months, I’ve been diligently working on dealing with my complaining and I’ve found a few things that have worked!

Today I’m talking all about how to you can stop complaining and sharing some tips so that complaining is no longer a vise in your life.

Resources Mentioned:

Renew180 Christian Coaching

Highlights From the Episode:

So I’m gonna be really honest, but I have struggled with complaining in my life. Recently I have been working on really toning that down, and I’ve been working on stopping complaining. I wanted to give you some tips that I found in my journey of really working on cutting out all the complaining that I do in my life. And I wanted to share that with you today. So let’s jump in.

Hi there, and welcome to “The Renewed Mind”. If this is the first time you are seeing any of my teachings, I just wanted to say thank you for being here, and I really appreciate those of you who come back every week to really grow in your mindset and learn how to control your emotions. And I really wanted to share this particular teaching today on how to stop complaining because it’s something that I’ve been working on throughout the last several weeks and months. And I just wanna give you some of the tips that I found that have helped me.

The reason that I wanted to work on stopping complaining is because God’s Word says over and over that we’re called to not complain, right? We’re called to be patient and enduring. But also it says, “Don’t complain!” It literally says that in the New Testament.

And so, I wanted that to be a picture of my life, to say I am someone who strives not to complain about the things in my life. Since all of this month we’re talking about being grateful, and it is November, the month of thankfulness, I just thought that this would be a great time to share some of the things that I have been learning.

Now, it’s important to remember that you have to fight to be grateful. It is not our default setting. Being thankful and appreciative is not our default. Complaining is. That is what is in our flesh, in our selfishness, right? We wanna complain. And so it’s really important that we stay consistent whenever we are practicing gratitude and working on not complaining. Because it’s very similar to, maybe, exercising for three hours once a week, versus exercising 30 minutes six times a week, right? It’s the same amount of time, but you’re gonna get better results if you’re consistent. Because it becomes part of who you are.

Now, I want you to consider just opening up a note on your phone and adding something that you’re grateful for every day. Now, if you wanna watch last week’s video, make sure to check it out, it’s called, “How to Start a Gratitude Journal”. And I really go into depth on the three keys of gratitude. So make sure to check that out.

As you are getting started on that, it can be really as simple as, like I said, opening up a note on your phone and just listing things, something that you’re grateful for. These could be things that make you laugh throughout the day. It could be things that you didn’t use to have that now you do. Maybe opportunities that you never thought you would have, but you do. Things that you have, even just, like, physical things that you have, that other people don’t have the privilege of having.

Sometimes in my gratitude journal, I’ll even put things like, “I’m thankful for running water. I’m thankful that I have a washer and a dryer in my house because there are people who don’t have a washer and dryer in their house.” And so I don’t ever wanna take those things for granted. It’s important that you just really start small if you wanna stay consistent. Because if you try to maybe write out a full page in your journal, every day, full of thankfulness, you’re gonna maybe do it once or twice, and then it’s gonna kind of make you fall off the wagon, right? Because it’s too much to start with. So I would start with maybe one or three things.

I really recommend that you look at, or give one thing that you’re thankful for, and then come up with several reasons why you’re thankful for that. But I also want you to remember that when you change your thoughts, you change your emotions. And whenever you change your emotions, that results in a change in your actions. And so if you want to stop complaining, you have to change your thinking first, right?

So that’s why I talked a little bit about gratitude, but it’s because you have to change your thoughts first. If you are constantly thinking about the things that other people have that you have, it’s going to result in complaining, right? If you are constantly thinking about the things you don’t have or maybe struggles that you’re experiencing, there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging those things. But if that’s what you’re constantly dwelling on, that is what’s gonna come out of your mouth.

If you are finding yourself complaining, start all the way back to your thoughts and start dealing with those. Then naturally the complaining is going to lessen and lessen. I want to give you some other practical things that I learned in my journey of not complaining.

Don’t Avoid Your Frustration.

One of them is to not avoid your frustration. So what do I mean by that? In Renew 180, I really teach women how to experience their emotions in a healthy way. Because what I find is, most of the time, whenever we have a negative, or even not, I mean, negative, but an uncomfortable emotion, we tend to avoid it at all costs, right? That’s why we go to other things.

There might be some rejection that I feel that I want to avoid. So I go to the pantry to get some snacks, or I go to social media to try and forget about my life. Or there might be some other uncomfortable feeling, an emotion that I have, that I want to just kind of push away. And instead of feeling that emotion, we end up just stacking more and more problems on top of it.

As you’re working on not complaining, I am not encouraging you to just avoid your frustration, or whatever you’re upset about, right? It’s not just about avoiding it, and, you know, sweeping it under the rug, because that doesn’t solve anything. You have to experience it, and then move on in a healthy way.

We Feel Our Emotions Physically

The reason why we call emotions, feelings, is because we feel them in our physical body. I want you to think back to a time when you’ve had a particular emotion and you actually felt it in your body. Because that’s what it means to actually experience an emotion. You might feel a tightening of your jaw or a pit in your stomach. Maybe your shoulders are kind of feeling tense. Those are emotions that you are experiencing.

And we don’t always like those feelings, those physical sensations. So we try to go and experience our emotions in other ways. We try to avoid them. We try to numb them. And we try to react in non-positive ways, instead of actually experiencing the emotion.

Now, as you are going through your day, and maybe you feel frustrated about something and you want to complain about it and you don’t, you’re trying to, like, smush it down, you’re trying to just completely avoid it, that’s not the solution. Instead, you need to sit down with the emotion, experience your frustration, and then move on. Decide how you wanna think about that situation, and allow that to help you move on in a healthy way.

Now, if you avoid the frustration in your life, or whatever you wish that you could complain about. Avoiding it will result in holding your frustration in all day, only to vent it out on, probably the people that you love most, right? Your spouse, your kids. Because you’re trying really hard not to complain, right? You’re trying to be, just a kind of go-with-the-flow kind of person when in reality, you’re really just harboring all that resentment. Instead of feeling it, you end up reacting to it. And let it all out on the people that you love. So make sure that you don’t avoid your frustrations.

Complaining Keeps You in the Past

Next is, to realize that complaining keeps you in the past. So complaining is different than constructive talk. Some things aren’t right in this world. Maybe there’s something going on at your workplace or your home, and you need to speak up to change them. That’s not the same thing as complaining. It is all in the attitude that you display whenever you share your concerns.

So whenever I talk about not complaining, I’m not saying that you don’t ever have a different opinion from someone else. That you don’t ever bring your concerns to your employer or your pastor or whatever. I’m just saying that what you need to do is make sure that you are looking at your thoughts. The thoughts behind your emotion, and then choosing your words correctly.

So make sure that you experience that emotion first. Then come with a game plan that is non-emotional to share the concerns that you have. Also maybe some solutions. So that the conversation can be more of a productive one than just you complaining about it.

Practice Empathy

The last tip that I have for you in regards to learning how to stop complaining is to practice empathy. This is something that I have been doing for the last several months. It has really changed, not just me not complaining, but also just my reactions and my relationships with other people. And that is to practice empathy.

Empathy means that you put yourself in someone else’s position. And there is a perfect example of this online. There is a singer, you’ve probably heard of her, named Taylor Swift. She was on “The Jimmy Kimmel Show.” He was talking to her about a situation that had happened years and years before. When she was, like, 14 years old, she went to Jimmy Kimmel, and to the offices, I don’t know if she had, like, an appearance, or probably not. My guess is that she didn’t at that time. But one of the security guys told her to leave, and, like, kicked her out.

Now, years and years and years later, she’s on “The Jimmy Kimmel Show” as a guest. Jimmy points out this security guard and says, “Hey that was the guy that kicked you out.” It’s kind of strange that he would put her on the spot like that, but I loved her reaction.

What she said was, “Well, I think that if I had been in that position, he probably would’ve gotten in more trouble letting some kid wander around the studio than he would’ve just kicking me out.”

What she did is she put herself in that person’s shoes, and saw the perspective from his side. She could have very easily complained. And said, “I don’t want him here.” “If they didn’t have any faith in me then, and now look at me”

She could’ve come out with a lot of different reactions to that. Taylor Swift could have said, “Oh, look at me now,” or, “Aren’t you sorry you did that?” She could’ve really come up with a lot of things and complained about that. But instead, she had empathy. She realized someone else’s perspective. That is really a great way to be considerate of someone else. And, really, it changes your thinking. So instead of, like, a poor is me, woe is me, type of attitude. She now is practicing a more mature way of sharing someone else’s experience.

I think that practicing empathy is something that we can all learn from. It’s just putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, right? I do this a lot with my kids. Whenever my three-year-old is really struggling with something, I try to put myself in his shoes. And say, “Okay, I know that he wants choices. Right now there’s not really a choice I can give him. Let me try and see if I can help him by seeing his perspective.”

It Changes Your Perspective

Now, this can help you in way more broad terms than just not complaining. But whenever you practice empathy, it changes your perspective of the situation. So, say there’s a circumstance happening, and we know that our circumstances do not create our emotions, our circumstances do not create our actions. It’s all our thoughts about those circumstances.

And so you have a circumstance, in this case, the example with Taylor Swift, where he kicked her out of “The Jimmy Kimmel Show”. That’s the circumstance. She had several ways that she could think about that circumstance, but she chose to think in a more empathetic light. And that ultimately changed her emotions. She felt, you know, more connected to that person. She felt maybe sorry for them. And then that led to her action of speaking kindly instead of complaining about a situation.

Whenever you are looking at your circumstances, maybe the circumstances that you are complaining about, go back to that thought about your circumstance and choose to think different thoughts about it. It doesn’t mean that you’re always gonna be happy all the time, and you can still be frustrated about a situation, without complaining. So it is possible to just experience that emotion and not act on it. You can feel frustrated and not complain.

A lot of this just comes down to being self-aware, being aware of your thoughts, and taking them captive. Which is what I teach in Renew 180. Renew 180 is a program that I created for women who are struggling with just taking their thoughts captive. Maybe they are riding the emotional rollercoaster, they don’t feel confident, and I take them through six months of in-depth teaching, as well as video calls and coaching, to help them deal with the things that are really keeping them stuck.

So if you are interested in really experiencing a powerful transformation, I wanna tell you, it comes from renewing your mind. That’s why I call it Renew 180 because renewing your mind creates 180-degree transformation. And I really, truly believe that God’s Word needs to be the center of any kind of coaching or teaching that you get, whenever it comes to transformation because He really is the author of your story. If you’re interested in checking that out, make sure to see it.

Renew180 Christian Coaching

That is all that I have for you today. I really hope that you enjoyed this teaching, and let me know in the comments about what stuck out to you, if this is something that you struggle with, I know it was something that I struggled with. And, whenever you get to the other side, I’m not saying that I never complain anymore, but I have seen such a huge shift in the way that I think about other people, and even in the way that I think about the little inconveniences of life, right? Because that’s usually what we’re complaining about. So once you practice these tips, you will see that the way that you look at the world changes.

All right! I will see you guys next time.

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- Ashley Varner

it’s my goal to reach every Christian mom with the truth that God wants to transform their life by renewing their mind.

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