Sunday, March 27, 2011
Hey, Complaining is a Virtue!
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m no pessimist. I believe that people are inherently good, that life is full of possibilities in tandem with hard work, and that sending kindness out to the universe brings it – and a host of other goodies – back to you in spades. But I’m also a realist, and advocate that people get real with themselves and the lives they’re living.
Far too often, people walk through life half-asleep, accepting mediocrity in their work, love lives, and even friendships. Too often, people feel afraid to look honestly at the things and people in their lives for fear of upsetting the status quo. My point: taking a razor-sharp lens to your life and start seriously complaining about the things that aren’t working are Step One in the course of getting what you want and deserve.
Complaints, the way you may imgaine them, are pointless. Perhaps you conjure Woody Allen whining in any number of films, wasting away with thoughts of what could be or could have been, sucked into meaningless attempts to notice the bad while simultaneously shutting out the good. But complaints are only the first part; the second is taking action.
One of the things that inevitably sends me into a tizzy - not a squeezing-hamsters'-heads-off tizzy but, you know, your average tizzy - is a preternaturally chin-up attitude, someone who can't ever say anything negative about anyone or anything. I say, “Wow, it’s gross outside, cold and rainy.” The provocateur, “No, we need the rain, and I love the fresh air.” Oh, give me a break. Life is hard, and the more complex you are and the deeper you think about your life and the world around you, the more taxing life can be. Now, before you write me off as the most morose or twisted therapist you’ve come across, make sure you get what I’m really saying: Life isn’t bad but it is a mixed bag – and sometimes it’s a really mixed bag.
The motto I use in my own life and with my clients in my private practice is simple: notice – or complain about – what’s broken in you, your life, and your relationships, and then set a firecracker under your you-know-what and do something about it, for crying out loud! Whatever you do, don’t let yourself fall victim to an eternal glass-is-half full attitude because you’ll be fooling yourself and setting yourself up to fail. Life is too short, and the possibilities are too exciting and far too rich, for you to try to convince yourself that everything is A-okay all the time.
Each day, take your emotional temperature and notice how you feel. When the same negative feelings about the same people or things keep popping up, your instincts are telling you that something’s wrong. When this happens, start complaining and hear your own voice remind you that it’s time to make a change. If you don’t, I’ll be the first person to start complaining.
PLUS: In Dr. Seth's new book, Dr. Seth's Love Prescription: Find the Love You Deserve (available at Amazon.com or in stores at Borders and Barnes and Noble), he shows you how to stop repeating bad patterns in your romantic relationships. If you or someone you know keeps going for the wrong types of people and seems stuck on this awful hamster wheel, pick up a copy of Dr. Seth's Love Prescription today.