My name is Patrick and I am a complainer.
There, I said it. While I am certain that complaining is not a disease, it does lead to some very poor outcomes. The main one is that it doesn’t do anything positive. In fact, it nearly always makes a person feel worse. If talking about everything that is wrong with your life moves you to do something about it then it may be worth doing, otherwise it only serves to make you feel bad and to reinforce any views you held that triggered the negative thoughts in the first place.
Complaining is toxic. It creates negative emotion in everyone who is exposed to it. Even those people who agree that what you are saying is factually true become infected with the poison of dark emotion. When they listen to you complain, you begin to make them feel bad. They won’t want to be near you and they won’t have any desire to listen to you. No one likes toxic people so complaints for their own sake are incredibly alienating.
Consider what complaining without taking further action might reveal about you to other people – you are stupid, lazy, or have a very low opinion of yourself.
Stupid because you stopped thinking as soon as you saw what was wrong and decided to bitch about it; the complaint is not necessarily the indicator of stupidity, that is revealed when you didn’t do anything to change the situation when you noticed what was occurring because you are not smart enough to think up a solution to make things better.
If you are not stupid, you are probably lazy because you know what to do to fix the situation and just can’t be bothered to do it. A small action to improve your situation would require about as much energy and probably less time than what is being consumed by complaining about it.
Okay, so you are not lazy or stupid, and continue to complain. Assuming you know how to fix the situation and have the energy to do that, maybe you believe you are a piece of crap who deserves only to exist in the situation that you find yourself in. Maybe, if you were a better person, a person of some worth or value, you’d take enough pride in your life and do the things that are needed in order to make it better.
This final one may be a little tougher to wrap your head around, but the rationale I am using goes something like: every day we take thousands of actions, most of which are aimed at addressing wants, while the remainder are aimed at addressing our needs. When resources are low we shift focus, slightly redirecting an increased portion of our effort towards addressing needs. Therefore, when we do not take a specific action that we have awareness of and the ability to take, that lack of action is actually the taking of an action aimed at addressing a specific need. In this instance, that need is to provide or generate evidence that we do not deserve for that thing to occur. Sure this is a version of a counterfactual argument, and this makes no material difference when you track in and exhaust all of the other possibilities. We take care of our needs and when we do not take a known action, we have TAKEN care of a need.
Regardless of which of these three is true, the people around you will make the proper decision and move the hell away, and can you really blame them? You are stupid, lazy or have no self respect, this is the trifecta of contagious uselessness and it is a fact that anyone who is repeatedly exposed to these qualities will begin to manifest and display them. People can’t wait to get away from you because being around you makes them feel bad and will, over time, turn them into the same thing. You ending up friendless is an act of self preservation or self compassion by the people you once called friends.
This is why I say I am a complainer, not because I complain but because I used to complain. All that really means is that I am just not complaining right now. The ability is strong within me and it can come out with very little provocation and during moments of inattention.
As such, it is best that I treat it like a disease because left unchecked, it will ruin my life. It will repel everyone and everything that I love and I will see removed from my life will be all of the things that make it worth living. It will tear me down revealing a shell of what I could have been had I just fixed the problem as soon as it was identified.
Human beings are exceptionally pragmatic and logical operators that take actions to achieve a specific outcome. This will occur even if they have no conscious awareness of what they are seeking or what action they are about to take. Knowing this allows us to work backwards from an outcome or action and surface the intention and a persons underlying values, beliefs, and personal identity.
HOWEVER, the world is very complicated and affords us ample opportunity to get things wrong. But the feeling of being wrong and being right is the same; being wrong only feels different when we REALIZE that we are or were wrong. The consequence to this is that people end up acting pragmatically and logically with incorrect information.
Human beings are practically identical to each other and the differences between us are the result of a variation in very small number of genes. This means that all human beings have the same needs and mostly the same wants (this is the area in which there will be some variability).
Out of the near infinite number of possible actions that a person can take at any moment in time, human behaviour is actually limited to a very low number of them. Very few of our actions are new, and most of these new actions will never be repeated because they will not yield the result we are seeking. Those that do lead to a desired outcome will be repeated over and over again.
When someone has developed a habit of complaining, we can be sure of at least one thing: they are repeating a successful behaviour – doing something that worked before – and are seeking the same outcome. Their decision making matrix MAY be corrupted with inaccurate information, but we KNOW with certainty that their actions are goal directed and, if nothing else, have been historically effective at leading them to a goal.