This post is third part of a series on Being Happy. Links to the other posts in this series are at the end of the post.
Before I started working with my first coach (who had me stop complaining, you can read about it in the About Me section) I had worked on not complaining before.
The first thing I did was identify where I complained the most and came up with a few strategies for handling it. I quickly realized that I complained a LOT when in the company of a couple of co-workers. It was how we interacted. I figured I had a couple of options. One was to avoid those co-workers and situations entirely. The other was to talk about our personal lives more (without complaining!) instead of our work lives.
There was one exception I made to no complaining. If there was a problem that needed to be addressed I would bring it up to my boss. Technically, that is complaining. Dictionary.com defines complain as: “to express dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, censure, resentment, or grief; find fault.” The rule I imposed was I could complain to my boss if I had come up with at least one possible solution to the problem. This worked pretty well. In retrospect, I should have slightly expanded this exception to also bring my boss issues that I wanted to brainstorm solutions for.
Another tactic is to say nothing when others complain or you feel a complaint coming on. Don’t forget to move on. Don’t dwell on the complaint even if you didn’t verbalize it. A complaint in your head is still a complaint! Even better, find something nice to say about the situation or person the complaint is about. It will give you a different way to look at it.
To sum up:
- Identify the situations you complain in the most
- Avoid those situations
- Find another way to act in those situations
- Come up with solutions to resolve the complaint
- Say nothing when you feel the complaint coming on and move on
- Say something nice about the situation or person the complaint is about