Stop Complaining, Start Doing

I find some people in life like to complain about their situation (i.e., their relationships, school, work, sports, etc.).   I have heard the following complaints way too often:

  • I’m not happy in my relationship.
  • I’m really unhappy at work.
  • I’m not enjoying my thesis, etc.
  • I don’t like my coach or my teammates.

It seems like they are never happy, and there is always something that is bothering them about their situation.

You get the picture; you may even be guilty of acting this way yourself.  Complaining is easy.  When you complain you focus on the problem(s) and not the solution(s).  But acting this way is bad for you.  I have often behaved this way myself, until I realized it was more frustrating and time- consuming than dealing with the problem head on!

“Realize that if you have time to whine and complain about something, then you have the time to do something about it.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo (author)

Taking  action and dealing with the issue, is the real but necessary work.

“Putting your big girl panties on” is scary, but totally necessary.  While you may be hesitant to address an issue because it may change the dynamics of the group, it is important to try, whether it be in a relationship, job, team, school, etc.  The response you get from the party you are unhappy with can illuminate whether your relationship with them is worth continuing in the same manner.  When you bring up your concern with them, there are three answers they can give you: a positive one, a negative one, or no response at all.

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain.” – Henry Ford

I have to share a personal story that inspired this blog post.  I had been attending a social organization for a couple of years and had heard members of the group talk about how they weren’t satisfied (i.e., their needs and wants weren’t being properly met by the group).   There had been critical comments made amongst the group on a regular basis, but no one had told the leaders about their concerns.  There was a lot of behind-the-scenes complaining  in the group, but no one took action to solve the problems that existed.

**I find this is common in organizations when the employees talk about issues but never do anything about them.

Finally, after returning to this organization following a yearly absence, I decided that I couldn’t be silent anymore.  I confidentially raised the complaints which the same members had voiced to me by emailing the group listserv, which included the leaders.  I wrote these issues in a polite way, pointing out the needs and concerns of the group and that we needed to address them.  The personal needs of the individuals in the group were not being listened to or satisfied.

Well, like I said before, when you raise an issue in a relationship you can get either a positive response, a negative one, or no response at all.  I had been expecting a positive one, as I had thought the group wanted to embrace these changes.  However, I was wrong.

I got a combination of negative and no responses at all.  Furthermore, the leaders didn't respond either.  No response is a response. Their lack of response disappointed me.

The other shock was how a few members of the group reacted to my email.  Even though I did it in a polite way and was voicing opinions they had raised many times, they were upset.  These people were scared that my intention was to destroy the group.  Does this mean they will put up with the status quo rather than risk conflict, which could upset some members of the group at the expense of others?

I didn’t want to upset the group at all. The group was great, and I just wanted to help improve it.  I eventually talked to the members who were hurt and worked it out.

This scenario reminded me of two things: 1) People are fearful of change;  and 2) No matter how you write something, people interpret your message the way they want to see it.

Unfortunately, at this organization, they weren’t receptive to the proposed changes.  I ended up leaving because: a) I sought out another community where my needs were met and I could grow and be challenged; and b) I didn’t feel like a valuable member of that group despite my long-time involvement with it.

I learned my lesson: it is important to speak up and voice concerns.  I was given a mind and a voice; I should use them in a positive way.  I challenge you to do the same.  Odds are if you are feeling a certain way, there are people out there that are experiencing the same thing you are but they are too afraid to do anything about it. So, just do it!

“Youdon’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering, and complaining.  You make progress by implementing ideas.” – Shirley Hufstedler (lawyer and former US Secretary of Education).

Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.

See you at the beach!

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