“I Quit Complaining” may seem like admitting weakness, or being a yes-man. But to “quit complaining” doesn’t mean to “agree to everything” or “deny our disapproval.”
I noticed, as I was doing the 21 day challenge, that quite often I would end-up complaining after experiencing a situation for too long, or when a situation would recur repetitively. I complained because I would try to bottle my frustration, to try to see things positively, to assume responsibility, and stay quiet to avoid acting like a hysterical witch… And in the end, after a while, I just exploded! I exploded just like the lid of a pressure cooker that has been lifted off. So much pressure had built up that it became unbearable and it had to come out! While releasing the pressure, I would still fuss about the situation. During those moments, we tend to say that “complaining serves a purpose” or “it’s not healthy to hold the pressure in, it’s healthier to let it out”! The question is: couldn’t we actually have avoided getting to that point?
I made the realization that when faced with a difficult situation, it’s important not to suppress my frustration, not try to keep it in, because in the end the pressure cooker will explode – and sometimes (often times) the pressure will explode unexpectedly and has nothing to do with my initial frustration!
Let’s look at an example from my own life: I’m frustrated because my young daughter is crying for me to carry her in my arms all day long. I cave in because I don’t have the courage to handle the situation and manage the crisis that will ensue if I say no, so I decide to stay quiet. I carry her and I do everything I can to make her stop yelling in my ears. I take it in stride… and at some point later in the day, my other daughter asks for something and my reaction is to explode!
“I’m sick of this, it’s not possible, I can’t do everything, I’m tired, you can figure it out on your own!!!” My answer is completely disproportionate in relation to her demand because it’s linked to another long-standing and bottled up frustration. The pressure cooker exploded on my other daughter who hasn’t done anything. She takes the hit from the frustration I bottled in all day long because I wasn’t able to take care of myself and my needs. I couldn’t respect my limits and now I’m feeling sad and guilty for my over-reaction.
Another real life situation for those who don’t have kids:
I’m working on a difficult project for many days – hours are going by and I’m far from being done. I could get some help, but I don’t know how and I’m afraid that it’ll cost too much (and it’s easier to get it done myself than to train someone to do it for me). I’m skipping meals, I go to bed late, I’m exhausted. I’m starting to get very frustrated. In addition, it’s not the first time that this situation happens. On top of it, other people are coming to me to get some help. It’s not a lot, just one little thing here, one little thing there, so I say yes because I can’t see myself saying no. They are after all people I actually do want to help. After a while, I start feeling as though I’m stretched out in all directions. Finally, one day, at the end of the day, my computer breaks down and then I explode! I start complaining and I’m really angry. Computer problems are just the cherry on top, the trigger that makes the pressure cooker go overboard. But the pressure had been building up for a few days, progressively, and I didn’t do anything to try to reduce it as time went by. I let the situation get worse.
Doing the challenge helped me to realize the importance of releasing the pressure regularly as time went by. It’s important to be careful when I feel the pressure building up, to take care of myself, to set my limits, express my needs, say no when needed, ask for help, release the pressure before it worsens and sometimes also change my point of view on the situation. It’s a constant challenge, at every hour, every moment, but it brings such serenity.
Listen to your body, acknowledge, and stop when you feel the pressure building up, heat coming on, your stomach in a knot…your body is talking to you and telling you that the situation is about to get even worse. What can you do to ease the pressure? Define three actions and plan to implement them within the next 48 hours.
Love & Respect,
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“Christine Lewicki is a Bestselling Author, Speaker & Coach. She is committed to help people quit complaining and become entrepreneurs of their lives. You can download your FREE “I quit complaining” starter kit on her blog www.iquitcomplaining.com and visit her Facebook page for inspirational articles and quotes to reveal the best version of yourself each day!