What to do When Complaining is Ruling Your Life
"I'm so tired of this."
How many of us have said some variety of the following phrases this week?
"I'm tired of:"
Another lockdown (in Washington at least)
The grim news that we get each and every day regarding COVID
The division in our country
Of being told you can't see people for the holidays
People making selfish decisions
Not being able to hug people
Cold weather moving in and less opportunity to be outside
You're in good company.
This year is pushing our limits. Testing our capacity. And often, when we are at our edge, when we are at the limit, it's easy to go straight to complaining. I'll speak for myself. It's easy for ME to go straight to complaining. Maybe it is for you, too.
What is it about hard things that send us to complaining? Is it human nature? Is it something we've all learned over time? Is is that complaining feels easier than actually doing something? It could be a mixture of all three. For me, what's really landing right is complaining feeling easy. It's super easy to see a problem and complain about it. To bitch, to moan, to gripe, to blame it on other people.... all of it! It's much more of a challenge, and I believe, the higher call for all of us... to actually take ACTION and DO something about said problem.
Here's what I've learned these past 8 months or so: When I'm on the complain train, it only goes in one direction. It's a straight forward march to dis-ease and frustration and being the victim and blaming and staying STUCK. When I'm in ACTION, no matter how hard or scary or impossible it feels, I'm moving forward in a different direction, or even in multiple directions. I'm moving toward possibility and love and ownership and power.
What is it about action that feels challenging? For me, action is challenging because it sets things in motion. Sometimes, as much as I want things forward, moving forward is a place of unknown and the unknown means I'm not going to know everything and I might screw up big time and fail and then what? Doing action means I actually have to be accountable to making the thing happen. I can't sit back and coast any longer. I can't ride anyone else's coattails. I can't wallow in my own self-pity. I just have to do the thing.
We are in a time in the world where it is beyond easy to throw our hands up and say "I'm done. I quit. No more of this." Whatever IT is that you are done with. It easy to get resigned. To spend our time inside. To stop our creative flow. It's human nature for us to drift that way. To drift towards what is easy. In the yoga practice, we are called to interrupt that. To get out of the comfortable places and into the uncomfortable spaces. To stop living as we always have and to start living live FULLY in each moment that comes before us.
When we are bombarded by grim news of deaths and suffering and local businesses closing, when we are bombarded by clear division of our country, when we are bombarded by people telling us what we are or aren't based on our decisions, how do we stay out of resentment, frustration, fear and suffering? How do we stay off the complaint train?
The fastest way I have found is to take action. Take one small step forward, no matter how small that step feels. What do you want to move toward during this time? What matters to you? Family? Building your business? Getting your kids back to school? Seeing others with compassion? Healing a broken relationship? Do one small thing to move it forward. Protest. Share how you really feel about something. Reach out to that person you've been meaning to call. Send that newsletter you've been meaning to. Start your blog. Practice gratitude. Do one thing that will get you closer towards what you are FOR, what you are ABOUT. All it takes is one step forward to give you the momentum. I'll be honest, I complained a lot this week. About a lot of things. In those moments, I kept reminding myself, over and over...
I can complain, or I can do something about it.
Though complaining can feel like we are doing something, the only thing it's doing is sowing more of the same thing you've already got. Take action and create newly this week. I'll be right alongside you in this practice, too!