Don’t complain, don’t explain. I read this many years ago in a book by the late, great Dr. Wayne Dyer and it stuck with me because it felt true – I admit I still sometimes complain or explain but, at least I catch myself before I get on a roll! As with most mottos, it’s a bit simplistic. It’s really just meant to be a quick reminder to yourself that you’re not thinking or acting in your own best interest. How is this not in your best interest? Because they both reflect a weakness of character – in one you’re a victim, in the other you’re lacking confidence.
Don’t complain. Are you proactive about your own happiness or do you expect others to make you happy? Is it easy for someone or something to ruin your whole day? Complaining is one the most pointless, wasteful, counterproductive things you can do with your time and energy especially if you’re complaining about something you can’t even change. Complaining let’s you be the victim because it’s a “poor me” mentality. It’s a way to get sympathy and attention but, chronic complaining wears on people and eventually they become bored or annoyed with you. They’ll probably start to avoid you. Everybody complains sometimes but, the chronic complainer takes it to a different level – it actually becomes part of their identity and creates a self perpetuating unhappiness. I don’t think I was ever a chronic complainer but, I’ve done my share of what I used to call “bitchin’ and moanin'”. Dr. Dyer and my late friend, Carol, helped me realize that you don’t have to actually complain out loud to have a victim mentality. If your thoughts tend to be a constant stream of complaints then you are allowing yourself to be victimized by your situation, the people in your life, and the things you don’t like about yourself. Complaining, even to yourself, is a form of resisting reality and an unwillingness to change the things over which you have control. (By the way, constantly criticizing yourself falls into the category of complaining) Sometimes the only thing you can change about a situation is how you think about it but that alone can make a huge difference. I want to be clear about the difference between complaining and sharing concerns with someone. We all have problems and fears and talking about them with a friend can help us find ways to overcome them. I believe the old maxim “A problem shared is a problem halved” has a lot of truth to it. On the other hand, complaining is when you just keep talking about the same problems over and over but never actually do anything to change them.
Don’t explain. Do you have a constant need to justify everything you do? Do you have trouble giving a brief and simple explanation for your decisions? I used to be like that far too often and I think it stems from shaky self-esteem and confidence. It was important that everyone understood me and I thought if I explained my thoughts or actions well enough, they would agree with me. I wanted to be approved of and liked and I took it personally when someone didn’t agree with me. Of course, I still want to be liked and agreed with, I no longer need it – at least, not from everyone. Reality is that as long as you’re not breaking the law or hurting anyone, you don’t have to explain yourself. When you have the strength of your convictions and confidence in your ability to make good decisions, you will do whatever you think is right and won’t need to justify your actions. You’re able to accept that not everyone in your life will understand or agree with you and you’ll be comfortable with that.
Complaining not only ruins everybody else’s day, it ruins the complainers day, too. The more we complain, the more unhappy we get. ~Dennis Prager
See more of my artwork and books at Lynda Linke Productions and please like me on Facebook if you are so inclined