The Benefits of Complaining

It is so easy to slip into complaining.

Do you have this problem? Complaining more than you want?

I know that sometimes I am complaining, and I don’t even realize I am complaining. Other times I know I am complaining, but it is hard to stop until I have vented my frustration.

Anyone else raising their hand?

There seems to always be something to complain about.  Big things and small things. Though I tend to favor small things.

How about you? Big or small things?

Learn the 4 benefits of complaining. Then take complaining to the next level and do something about your complaints.Learn the 4 benefits of complaining. Then take complaining to the next level and do something about your complaints.Learn the 4 benefits of complaining. Then take complaining to the next level and do something about your complaints.It’s easy to complain.

 

I am trying to get ready and the phone rings. The bird needs to be put in her cage. Someone asks where their shoes are. I realize I haven’t yet brushed my teeth. And oh yes, what am I going to wear?

Stress builds. Frustration rises.

Then as we are leaving the house someone says, “I thought this started at 6pm.”

I look at the clock. It says 6:05.

I glance at the calendar. Yup, starts at six. Which means we needed to leave at 5:30.

In the car I complain about people distracting me. How I need people to take care of the bird and get themselves ready. And anything mildly related.

We arrive half an hour late, and in a bad mood, mainly because I have complained and vented.

I apologize, but we are all a bit somber. All because I mixed up the time to go and arrive as one in the same. And then complained to a car-captive audience.

That time it was my fault.

But sometimes it is not my fault.

I complain because it seems no one in my house can return an item back to its original and designated spot.

Or because I get tired of waiting for people to show up at the dinner table.

Or because my day has gone nothing like how I wanted it to.

Yup.

So many things to complain about.

In fact, the list seems never ending. We can complain about life, others, circumstances, our day, work, pets, health, politics, laws, food, movies, service, accommodations, traveling, technology, ourselves, and much more.


Learn the 4 benefits of complaining. Then take complaining to the next level and do something about your complaints.Why we complain.

 

We often complain because we have a sense of entitlement. We expect things to unfold orderly, and ultimately go a certain way. We expect (and think) people to act certain way. We expect (and think we deserve) to be treated a certain way.

In short. We complain because things, people, or life is not going as we expected.

I know. It sounds a little shallow of us, doesn’t it?

And it reveals our selfishness and that we are thinking mostly about our self.

Ugg. Not pretty, I know.


Learn the 4 benefits of complaining. Then take complaining to the next level and do something about your complaints.The benefits of complaining.

 

I did say there were benefits of complaining, so let’s get to them.

1. Complaining can highlight the things that irritate us and identify what we consider to be a problem.

2. Complaining can help us label our feelings.

3. Complaining can illuminate the expectations we had for that situation or person.

4. Complaining can point out our self-focused heart.

In short, complaining can help us get to know ourselves better and shine a light into our motivations, feelings, attitudes, and expectations.

But how are these a benefit?

Has this ever happened to you?

You are complaining to your friend about your mate always being late. You are ready early, he has never been early to anything. And as you are describing your frustration about waiting for him and explain how you feel about arriving late to most things, you feel your blood pressure rise.

Presto! You’ve identified what you consider a problem.

You dislike being late. And he is late.

And you have begun to identify your feelings about this problem.

You hate waiting. You feel anger. Frustration. Annoyance. Maybe slighted because he doesn’t consider that you want to be early to events. Not late.

And if you were to probe further, you may find that waiting for him makes you feel disrespected. Not loved. Or maybe the cardinal rule in your childhood was never be late. So, you relate being late to breaking a rule of life.

See all the good information you have learned about yourself? {Stuff you can use to help you not get upset next time this predictable late dance happens again.}

Now let’s dig a little deeper.

You have looked at being late from your point of view, now let’s try to look at it from his viewpoint.

Your mate probably doesn’t see being late as a problem big enough to change. Or he probably wouldn’t be consistently late. Maybe he grew up in a family where they were always late. Or maybe he has no sense of time. Or maybe he has anxiety about being early.

Like I said, this is a problem to you. And why? Because it bugs you.

And it bugs you because you are an early bird married to a late bird. It bothers you because he is different than you. It bothers you because you hate being late. And in your rule book (your expectations), one needs to be early.


Learn the 4 benefits of complaining. Then take complaining to the next level and do something about your complaints.Looking closer at the benefit of complaining.

 

Complaining has identified three important things we need if we are going to change or fix something in our life.

First, we need to identify the problem.  We can’t change a problem without identifying it.

The more we can identify the things that irritate us, the better able we are to address those situations and take steps to not be irritated. We cannot take steps to prevent, sidestep, or change until we have identified a problem.

Second, we need awareness. We need awareness about how we feel, our actions, motivations, expectations, and personality. The more aware we are of how the problem makes us feel, act, and why we feel this way, than we can choose the next step and figure out what to do about the problem.

If we can identify our feelings, and work through them, we will rule them, instead of them ruling us.

Third, after gaining awareness of ourselves, we can gain awareness of others. After we look at the problem or situation from our point of view, we can step back and gain perspective by examining other viewpoints.

The more we can figure out the other person and why they act or think a certain way, the easier it is to give grace, understanding, and decide how to go about compromising and trying to solve the problem. Trying to understand their viewpoint also helps the situation be less of an I-am-right point of view, and they-are wrong point of view (or the winner / loser scenario). It also helps us not take their actions so personally.

We can also look at the problem or situation through the big picture of life and gain insight on how important the thing we are complaining about really is in the scheme of life.


Learn the 4 benefits of complaining. Then take complaining to the next level and do something about your complaints.Complaining never solves a problem.

 

Usually we like to complain. Then after we have vented, we feel better.

Until next time.

But you see. Complaining never solves a problem. It takes no action.

My sister told me this one day and it made a big impression on me.

Complaining just exercises our tongue. And often it encourages us to shame and blame, or lecture, those involved, but there is no plan developed. No steps taken to alleviate or live with the problem.

It is time to take complaining to the next level. After we have identified the problem and our feelings concerning the problem, let’s take some action.

Let’s attempt to solve (minimize or deal with) the problem and eliminate further complaining.


Learn the 4 benefits of complaining. Then take complaining to the next level and do something about your complaints.Solving the problem.

 

Here is the action part. The brain work.

It is time to reap the benefits of all that complaining and move to solving the problem. To quit being the victim and move to choices.

Back to the problem of the early bird and tardy bird. There are many choices available.

You can discuss it with him and tell him how his lateness makes you feel. You can come to a compromise. You can take separate cars. Maybe reward yourself with something enjoyable while he is taking so long to get ready. Tell him things start 30 minutes earlier than they really do. Decide to just   overlook it and live with it. Catch yourself getting irritated and decide not to let it ruin your day. Catch yourself wanting to nag and complain him into moving faster, and instead name two things aloud to him that you appreciate about him.

The one thing you cannot do is change him. He has to do that himself.

The thing to remember is that you have lots of choices.

When we feel we have choices, we can quit complaining and instead choose to do something different.

Not all problems we complain about can be changed. Sometimes we need to find ways to deal with the problem in the best possible way. But we never get to dealing with the problem in a better way, until we identify the problem, our feelings associated with the problem, our expectations concerning the problem, and then take action to do or try something different.

I am not encouraging you to complain, but once you have, use the benefits (the knowledge learned) of complaining to your advantage.

Move to the next step of dealing with or solving the problem.

You’ll be happier, and so will those around you.

Learn the 4 benefits of complaining. Then take complaining to the next level and do something about your complaints.P.S. Possible questions to ask yourself to help you solve your problem and benefit from complaining.

1. What do I really feel about this topic / problem?

2. Why might I be feeling this way?

3. Why does this problem bother me so much?

4. What are my expectations for this problem? Why or how did I develop of choose those expectations?

5. What might the other person’s viewpoint be?

6. What might their expectations be?

7. What have I learned about myself (or them) that can help in the future?

8. Do I want to address this topic / problem with the person? What would be the best way of doing this?

9. How do I want to address, or react, next time this problem / situation comes up? (Come up with a plan of action.)

Helpful tip: Complain to a person who will listen, ask similar questions, and help you figure out your answers to these questions.

My sister and I call each other to complain, and then often we ask some of these hard questions of each other. This helps us identify the problem, and then decide what we are going to do about the problem.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: What are some benefits you have noticed about complaining?

Learn the 4 benefits of complaining. Then take complaining to the next level and do something about your complaints.May link up at Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth).

Learn the 4 benefits of complaining. Then take complaining to the next level and do something about your complaints.

Airplanes, Turbulance, and a Mantra of Reassurance

One thing I get nervous about, is flying in turbulence.

I know exactly when it started. We were heading into the Seattle airport. Beginning our last 30 minutes of descent. And that’s when the turbulence started.

Up and down we bobbed, like a fishing float crossing jet ski waves.

We were strapped in the last row of the airplane. And it wasn’t long before the odor of the 2 back bathrooms was wafting up the aisle. Getting stronger as time slowly marched forward.

Now two sensory items were combining to make me feel nauseous and sick.

My daughter, a tween at the time and was having the time of her life. “Mom, this is just like a roller coaster. I hope it never stops.”

Meanwhile, I was clutching the arm rests, trying not to panic, and appear calm. No need to frighten her.

My daughter got her wish. The air induced roller coaster stopped only when all the wheels were on the ground.

Let’s just say, I didn’t kiss the ground when we landed, but I was so happy I couldn’t stop smiling, even as we were collecting our luggage.

Confronting our fears can be easier with a mantra. Because we all need to be reminded of the truth and whose we are. #Confronting your fears #personal mantra
Confronting our fears can be easier with a mantra. Because we all need to be reminded of the truth and whose we are. #Confronting your fears #personal mantra

Confronting our fears can be easier with a mantra. Because we all need to be reminded of the truth and whose we are. #Confronting your fears #personal mantra
How I developed my flying mantra.

 

About a month later, I found myself on a plane again.

I had forgotten about our last plane ride. But my body had not.

Our plane took off and almost instantly, as the plane was straining and shaking and we climbed into the sky, I got a full blown panic attack.

Presto!

I was shaking inside, sweating through all my clothes, and feeling like I was going to spin into about a billion little pieces of tissue and cells.

I couldn’t think. I couldn’t focus. I could barely breathe.

I kept telling myself to calm down. But I couldn’t.

At the time I didn’t make the connection that I was reacting to our last flight.

I sat there paralyzed. Afraid to move. Even though it was an almost turbulence free flight.

Eventually I realized I was repeating Psalm 23 to myself.

“The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes . . ..”

It did not stop the panic attack, but it reassured me and helped focus me.

Over and over I repeated it, until we coasted up and stopped at the gate.

And even though we were in the air for about a 90-minute flight, my panic attack did not abate until I had been on the ground for a while.

When I got to the hotel, I called my husband and told him there was no way I was getting back on the plane. I was coming home by bus. Even if it took me two days of non-stop driving.

Calmly he talked to me. Listened. Told me to wait a few days to buy a bus ticket. Who knew, maybe I would change my mind. I reassured him I would not.

The night before I was to fly, he told me that I had to face my fears. Get back on the plane, or I would avoid flying.

I so wanted to buy a bus ticket, but I got back on the plane.

Going home was better. Well, a little better.

And each flight has gotten better.

But one thing is still the same. The moment I get nervous on a plane, or when turbulence starts rocking the plane, I automatically start reciting Psalm 23.

It’s been over a decade and a half since that bad bumpy plane ride over the Cascade mountain range, and yet Psalm 23 is my flying mantra. Never anything else. No variety here. Same is good when it is working.

And believe me, it has helped me through some not so fun turbulence.

But I am also getting more used to turbulence. Now I can read in mild turbulence, if my book is interesting enough, and if I lift my feet of the floor so I don’t feel it so much.

But anytime I need calming. Soothing. Reassurance that I am not alone on that plane, I start reciting the 23rd Psalm. And always it comforts me.

Confronting our fears can be easier with a mantra. Because we all need to be reminded of the truth and whose we are. #Confronting your fears #personal mantraConfronting our fears can be easier with a mantra. Because we all need to be reminded of the truth and whose we are. #Confronting your fears #personal mantraConfronting our fears can be easier with a mantra. Because we all need to be reminded of the truth and whose we are. #Confronting your fears #personal mantra

What’s your mantra?

 

For me, Psalm 23 and flying go together like ocean and beach. Flip flops and shorts. Chocolate and raisins.

What is one of your fears? And how do you calm and reassure yourself?

What do you tell yourself? Remind yourself? Say to quiet the voices or static noise in your head.

Sometimes we need a mantra not just for our fears, but to answer the critics and accusers.

The voices reminding you of your failures. Criticizing your looks.  Comparing you to others to shame you.

At these times you need to remember your mantra, which may be different and depend on the circumstances. A mantra that will remind yourself of the truth and whose you are.

Because we all need reassurance. We all need calming.

And if you don’t have a mantra. Or multiple mantras. Get yourself some.

For awhile I was reminding myself that I was beloved. That there is no condemnation with Jesus. That my worth was not dependent on what I did or did not do.

Sometimes something as simple as reminding myself to breathe and rest a minute can change the present.

Or when my son is talking, and I am busy and trying to listen and do something else, reminding myself to stop and listen, can change the outcome of our conversation.

A mantra can calm you. Reassure you. Encourage you. Recharge you. Remind you. Excite you. And more.

What do you need to remind yourself of today when turbulence rocks your attitude, soul, or day?

Confronting our fears can be easier with a mantra. Because we all need to be reminded of the truth and whose we are. #Confronting your fears #personal mantra

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: What is one of your personal mantras?

Confronting our fears can be easier with a mantra. Because we all need to be reminded of the truth and whose we are. #Confronting your fears #personal mantraMay link up at Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Confronting our fears can be easier with a mantra. Because we all need to be reminded of the truth and whose we are. #Confronting your fears #personal mantraConfronting our fears can be easier with a mantra. Because we all need to be reminded of the truth and whose we are. #Confronting your fears #personal mantra

Stop Apologizing for Your Appearance

It was one of those days. Full of plans. Many didn’t get done. Some did.

I dressed in track shorts and a t-shirt, planning to change before my evening meet-up.

After waiting 45 minutes for my son to emerge from his after-school meeting, I shot home. In less than 40 minutes, I had whipped up dinner and threw it in the oven to bake. I wiped the sweet from my forehead and headed to an hour-long appointment just a few minutes away.

I was still wearing my track shorts and t-shirt. While I had debated changing into some cute clothes for the appointment, making dinner had won the coin toss.

In my mind all my plans worked out. I expected to return home, freshen up, change into a cute outfit, and meet my friend at Panera looking calm, cool, and much better than I had all day.

Well those were my plans. And if I had been listening, I might have heard life laughing at me.

I came out of my appointment, looked at my watch, and realized I was meeting my friend in 15 minutes. The hour I thought I had to primp and change, well I had forgotten to add an hour for the hour meeting. Oppps!

I had a choice. Meet my friend wearing my track shorts or go home, change, and be late. I choose the first, but I was disappointed.

I knew she would look cute and I would look . . . like I had been running all day.

I also had another choice to make. I could worry and fret and maybe beat myself up for my lack of time awareness and planning of my day, or I could go and enjoy the time together with my friend.

I choose the later.

And while I knew I shouldn’t make a big deal about it, or draw attention to my lack of outfit planning, still, before I could slap my hand over my mouth, I was telling her hi and apologizing for my outfit and saying I had planned to wear something cute. (Probably because she was looking so cute and I didn’t want her to think I wore this 24/7).

Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.Ladies. Do you see what I was doing?

I was apologizing for my appearance.

And it wasn’t like I was standing there in my birthday suit. Or even needed to apologize. I hadn’t shown up at Panera Bread wearing something inappropriate.

But there I was apologizing for my appearance because I had planned to wear something different. My expectations were cute outfit. Reality was gym clothes.

Quite frankly, I was embarrassed and a little upset that my expectations hadn’t turned into reality.

Did I need to apologize for my appearance?

No.

And what did apologizing for my appearance do?

Well, it put all the attention on me, and my perceived deficit.

Instead of greeting her and making her feel cute, I was asking her to make me feel better about my perceived un-cuteness.

Of course, my friend did what any friend would do, she contradicted me and said I looked fine.

Ladies. Why do we do this?

Why do we apologize for our appearance?

Why do we pull the focus on us and then wait until our friends disagree with our concerns?

Why do we feel so insecure that when we don’t meet our expectations concerning our looks, we start apologizing?

Apologizing for something that doesn’t need to be apologized for.

Because the truth is, when we apologize for our looks, rarely is it necessary or called for.

Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.

Quick Question?

 

Have you ever heard a guy apologize for his appearance?

“You’ll have to excuse the stubble on my face. I didn’t shave this morning.”

“These nails? I am embarrassed to leave home with them looking like this.”

“Can you believe my hair? It just won’t behave today.”

“This shirt? Well thanks, but I should have gotten rid of it years ago.”

“Sorry my muscles are so small, I quit working out last year.”

“Can you believe my thighs in that picture? I need to quit wearing shorts.”

No. Guys don’t apologize for their appearance, pick themselves apart, and put themselves down.

 

Why do women apologize for their appearance?

 

We were created to be beautiful. And we want to be beautiful.

We like it when people notice us.

Nothing wrong with that.

Maybe part of our problem is that we have these voices in our head.

The voice that tells us we are not enough. Beautiful enough. Skinny enough. Young enough.

The voice that keeps us from jumping into the family photos because we don’t look the way we want to.

The voice that tells us what society expects us to look like and how we are failing to conform to the airbrushed women in print form.

The voice that picks apart our body, as if it is made up of pieces.

The voice that compares us to other beautiful women in real life and on social media.

The voice that wants to be accepted and part of the in-crowd.

The voice that sounds like our mean step mother who is granting no good wishes on our behalf.

The voice that focuses more on our appearance than our personality or any other aspect of us.

On and on it goes.

These voices cause us shame. To not appreciate our body. To doubt our appearance.

They cause us to apologize for our appearance:

When we run to the grocery store and bump into our boss wearing our pajama bottoms and our husband’s tee-shirt.

When people try and herd us into photos.

When we don’t look as good as we think we should.

When we are disappointed with our looks.

We apologize quickly and often for our appearance.

Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.

Picking apart our looks starts early.

 

I remember entering my teens and hanging out with the other girls my age in the dressing area of the lady’s room at church. One day some girl complained about her tummy. That she needed to lose some weight. We sympathized. Told her she looked good.

But it started something.

There became this unspoken rule that we were not supposed to come in and admire ourselves in the mirror and think of ourselves as pretty. No noticing our good points aloud. Instead, we were supposed to come in and notice what was wrong with us and our clothes.

Our crocked teeth. Our short eyelashes. Our dull hair. Our freckles. Our old skirt. Our too fuzzy sweater. Our unperfect toes. Our too thick thighs.

And the sad thing was that we were all skinny. All of us beautiful teens. But we wanted to fit in, so we bemoaned our waists and talked about diets when not a one of us needed one.

We will find what we look for.

 

If our definition of appearance is perfection, we will be disappointed all our life with our looks.

If our expectation for how we should look and the reality of our appearance don’t match, then we will be unhappy with our appearance.

If we are out to find the many faults with our bodies, then that is all we will notice.

But the opposite is also true.

If we don’t base our worth on our appearance or looks, or weight, or how many times we have exercised this week, then we will be more comfortable and satisfied with our self.

If we are flexible with our expectations concerning our appearance, we will be happier and more comfortable in our skin.

If we quit comparing our self with others, we can more appreciate our good points.

If we make a point to appreciate our bodies, we will be grateful for them and notice good than bad.

If we realize our specific deficits are considered desirable by others, or know that there are others who would love to have our body, then we can be kinder to our body.

If we look at our self more as a whole, instead of body parts that need fixing and sent to the shop for a tune-up, than we will be more positive with our appearance.

If we see our self through God’s eyes we will see we are good enough, and that his love is not based on our looks.

If we stop to see our self through the eyes of our family and friends, we will see our self in a new light.  Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.

Seeing our self as others see us can change our need to apologize about our looks.

 

Do you know that others see you differently than you see yourself?

When you see a picture of your family or friends, do you automatically start picking it apart? “Oh look! Her eyes are closed and her smile it to big. Don’t even get me started on how her jeans are a season old. And if she would have turned sideways a little and pulled her tummy in and her shoulder back, well then she would have looked better.”

Of course, you don’t.

And when my friend saw me in Panera Bread, she didn’t think, “Oh look, Theresa came as slob of the week in her exercise clothes. What a fraud. I bet she didn’t even exercise today. Well I know what she thinks of me. Why she didn’t even have the courtesy to dress properly and show me some respect.”

Of course, she didn’t.

Even if I think or felt like she could have been thinking this, I know she didn’t.

See that voice that I may be attributing to her, is really my voice. Not hers.

She was just happy to see me and spend some time together.

Just like I would have been happy to see her and spend time together. No matter what she was wearing. Gym clothes or dress clothes.

And that is because we have a relationship. And that relationship is more important than what we wear or look like.

So, quit hearing your voice and overlaying it on your friend or family, and thinking it is their voice. Their perceptions.

Your kids don’t look at you and see your cocked nose and to big feet. No, they see their loving mother who hugs them and feeds them and takes care of them.

Your friends don’t notice your thighs and wrinkles, they see your good qualities and how you reach out to them, bring them a dinner in hard times, and how you make them laugh.

Your husband doesn’t see your graying hair and stretch marks, he sees you as his companion. He sees your kindness and hard work radiating from your strong hands and gentle heart. He sees you as the person he couldn’t live without and who completed him.

So, do yourself a favor.

Quit badmouthing the picture others have of you in their mind.

Quit making them uncomfortable by listing what is wrong with you today in the department of your looks.

Quit apologizing for things they don’t see in you.

Instead, start seeing yourself through the eyes of those who love you. Because this is a more realistic picture of yourself. Not the one in your mind.

And while you are at it. Stop apologizing for your appearance.

I’m going to.

Let’s join together and save those apologies for necessary things.

Apologizing for our appearance is simply is not allowed anymore. We need to quit being so hard on our self (and thinking others are being hard on us too).

And when we feel the need to apologize for our appearance (which is focusing on us and what’s wrong with us), we can instead focus on the other person and compliment them or ask them a question.

And when we get a compliment, don’t apologize it away. Instead, take it and hold it, and enjoy it.

And best of all, believe it.

Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.

 

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 

P.S. Want to read more on this topic? What if Your Body is As Good as it Gets?  by me. Dear Moms, Stop Hiding Behind the Camera, by Candace Playforth. And Are You Tired of Not Feeling Good Enough? by Laura Hicks.

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: Do you find yourself apologizing for your appearance?

Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.

May link up at Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.

Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.