Gifts can come from strange places. My husband recently suffered a second injury within ten months of tearing his Achilles tendon. Despite the pain, he doesn’t complain. He’s focused, instead, on recovering and living! His calm demeanor has helped me stop my own complaining and settle into a new temporary routine. Eliminating the incessant, fretful noise of our complaints has created space for thoughtful interactions and conversation.

People are complaining everywhere these days. We’re often willing to take on new challenges of our own choosing but not when circumstances thrust something on us.[1] Who can stand visiting Facebook right now? Bearing witness to complaints is tough, demoralizing and even unhelpful. Complaining is a Non-Starter for conversation.

Although we want to empathize, there must be a better way to approach dissatisfaction. Here are suggestions to change up our paradigms:

  • Acceptance comes first. When we struggle to acknowledge the reality of any situation, our “go to” is to complain about it. Around, around we go, saying the same words over and over, painting a hopeless scenario.
  • Instead, acknowledge feelings. Feel the loss, disappointment and or frustration. Write about it. Exercise to create physical removal. Talk with a good friend(s) who will deeply listen. Take care of yourself. Then? Move on.
  • Consider the conversations in your head that need to stop. We have the same recurrent thoughts. Put a halt to these old tapes. Only then can new approaches pop in to our psyche.
  • Determine actions you can take that will be positive.
  • Pick words carefully: “Sankalpa Samma Vaca”[2]. How we express ourselves becomes our reality. David Ji, in “Cultivating Right Speech” recommends that we imagine a little bell going off in our heads just before speaking. Are we speaking thoughtfully, from a kind place?

Miracles happen when we’re able to change our perspectives, truly. Challenge yourself not to complain for twenty-one days in all your endeavors and roles in life (Believe me…I have had to keep re-starting!). Eliminating complaints means our glass will be constantly filled and, most importantly, conversations will begin to open in the best way!


Year of Conversation Question #4: What’s a favorite word or phrase you just love to say? And Question #5: When was a time you had to forgive someone in a conversation?


[1] Thank you to Marilyn Bredar and Marie Johnson for their valuable insights over coffee.

[2]; “Cultivating Right Speech” by Davidji


One Comment

  • Carolyn S says:

    Excellent topic and one that many of us struggle with. When does “needing to get something off our chest” turn in to “complaining? I know I sometimes confuse the two! Thanks for the reminder to be mindful!

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