Yes, complaining and criticizing kill.
At this point; you may be saying, “No they don’t. I complain and criticize all the time and no one dies because of it”. I will explain this statement later on in this post. We will see if you have changed you mind after reading.
Does this sound familiar?
You get up on the wrong side of the bed. You don’t even know why; but you are just in a bad mood. Or maybe your day was going okay; but one unfortunate thing after another happened; and you find yourself complaining to anyone who will listen. Then you begin to criticize someone involved in the unfortunate situations, or criticize yourself. Does this sound familiar? “How could he do that to me, after all I’ve done for him?” “How could I be so stupid”; or “I have no idea why I would do that”, etc.
Before you know it; you are caught in the web of complaining and criticizing. Ask yourself how you feel when you are gripped in this negative spiral? Are you stressed? Are you angry? Are you upset? Yes, you answer, the situation made me that way. But how much impact would the situation have on your day; if you had handled it differently?
We don’t always have control over what happens to us; but we always have a choice of how to react to what happens. Well, you say, “I don’t really have a choice; I just get angry or upset, and I have to let it out somehow.”
To some degree that may be true; but you can learn new ways of handling that stress or anger. You don’t have to lash out with hurtful words. (It doesn’t make the situation better, or solve the problem) It is not necessary to complain about what happened to everyone you see. ( It is like re-visiting the pain of the original incident over and over again)
How do I learn to react more positive?
Delay your reaction. Count to 10, 20, or even 50 before reacting.
Walk away, if the situation permits. Sometimes putting distance between you and the offending situation or problem may be helpful. Other times it is not feasible.
Realize this situation or problem is outside you. Don’t bring it inside by rehearsing it with complaining and criticizing.
Forgive others, and yourself for being delinquent or disinterested. Our lives are busy; we sometimes don’t do things we should do; and we often do things we shouldn’t do. We are far from perfect, and require forgiveness often.
Be aware of your “self-talk”. We can talk ourselves into, or out of being upset, by our self-talk. Ask yourself, “Is this really as important as I am making it at this moment?” “How can I handle this situation in a positive way?”
Try to understand your own feelings; but don’t try to ascertain the motives of another person. It is highly likely we will ascribe an erroneous motive; one the other person never even thought of. And if we ascribe the motive in our mind; it becomes real to us; even if in grave error, in reality. If we don’t always know our own motives; how could we possibly know the motive of another person?
Ask yourself why. “Why is this upsetting me?” “Why am I so angry about this?” Keep your questions personal and about your own feelings. Don’t try to figure out why others do what they do. You will have enough trouble trying to answer questions about yourself.
Tell the offending thoughts and words to STOP! Then replace them with positive words and thoughts.
Decide you will not let this incident ruin your day. Nothing can make you miserable unless you let it.
How does complaining and criticizing kill?
It kills joy.
It is not really possible to have joy in the midst of complaining and criticizing. Until it stops, your joy is squelched, or killed.
It kills relationships.
How many marriage relationships are sacrificed on the altar of complaining and criticizing by one, or both partners? How many friendships are lost because of this negative habit? How many parents have lost the love, or respect of their own adult children; because of all the complaining and criticism they indulge in.
It kills positivity.
Complaining and criticizing are both negative. When we are indulging in these habits; it is impossible to think positively. Our positivity has been murdered by negativity.
It kills motivation.
Complaining and criticizing is a very draining activity. It leaves little room for positive motivation. Our motivation is squeezed out, until dead.
It kills thankfulness.
Who can be grateful for what they have; if they are always complaining about what they don’t have? The “have nots”, trample on the “blessings” until they render them dead.
It kills hope.
It is hard to feel hopeful when we are engrossed in complaining and criticizing. We lose hope for anything to be better; because the future is clouded with the storm clouds of these two habits.
It could kill us.
Stress is compounded by complaining and criticizing. Stress has a negative effect on our health. Over time it can cause all sorts of health complications; which could contribute to our demise.
Complaining and criticizing doesn’t change the situation. It doesn’t solve the problem. It doesn’t make you feel better; in fact you will usually feel worse. If we stand back and really evaluate the usefulness of these two habits; we will have to conclude that we would be better off without them.
Perhaps, it isn’t realistic to think we can totally eradicate them from our life; but we can certainly cut back the amount of time we allow ourselves to indulge in these two destructive habits. There are many more positive ways to spend our time. And there are many ways our voices in more positive endeavors.
Have you changed your mind from the beginning of the post? Do you see how these negative habits can kill? Do you see how they can have a destructive impact on our lives and on the lives of those we love? Do you think it is worth trying to replace these habits with more positive habits and actions?
I would appreciate your comments below. Please ask any questions you have, and I will answer to the best of my ability.
At your service,