No one likes whiners. They poison their own lives and the lives of others. They have problems at school, as they never complete tasks correctly and on time, finding dozens of reasons to not to do things well. They aren’t good workers because instead of solving a problem, they find reasons why they shouldn’t even start. Their private life isn’t cloudless, as partners and friends of the whiner defend the rest of the world from constant complaints by sacrificing themselves.
And if you recognize yourself in a little grey duck above, consider this article as your personal manual to stop complaining and become more productive in your studies, work, and life.
Analyze your behavior and try to answer the question: why are you complaining?
Spoiler: because you expect sympathy and emotional validation from people. When you complain, you’re hoping that people will forgive you for your mistakes. You help them by describing all the difficulties and stresses your life is burdened with. Especially if it is not. A typical whiner chooses the role of a victim, and no one blames victims.
The first step to battle a bad habit is to accept its existence. Here is another quick test to see if you’re a true whiner: do you follow some good advice people give you when you complain? The thing is, true whiners never do. The classic complainer is afraid to get rid of problems, as their problems save them from taking responsibility for their own lives. Yep, the psychological motives of constant complaining are that deep.
Make agreements with yourself. The main problem with the effectiveness of whiners is a negative attitude and the confidence in failure. Your inner critic whispers these thoughts to you. Usually, people of creative professions need to shut up their inner voices, but whiners have to struggle with an internal critic constantly.
So, how does one shut off negative thoughts? Before you start working on any task you are sure you will fail at, sign an agreement with your internal critic. Talk to yourself. Literally.
The monologue can look like this: “Listen, I know that this task cannot be accomplished, and that the teacher/boss sets unrealistic tasks. I know I’m a failure, but let’s try at least! Give me 6 hours to accomplish this task, during which you will keep silent and will not disturb me.” It might seem strange, but thankfully there are several papers saying that talking to yourself is normal.
For many of us, constant complaints have become a bad habit. We understand everything is fine, goals are achievable, friends like you, your boss appreciates your work, your family loves you… but we still continue to complain about any trifle that did not go according to our plan. Sometimes we do not even notice how and when we start the whining all over again.
Put on a bracelet that will remind you of your desire to stop complaining. Ask your friends to spot you. Make a “whining jar” instead of a “curse jar” (as cursing is totally fine).
Fear is the mind killer
Sometimes we are so afraid of failure that we don’t even begin. But the more you procrastinate, suffering from how to approach the task, the more effectively your brain comes up with excuses for why the assignment is unrealistic and impossible to complete. The brain of a whiner is good at finding 47 reasons per second of why it will never work. When your brain is busy with such lists, it’s unlikely to be effective with the assignment itself.
The best way to avoid this trap is to start a difficult task in the morning. So, you will not have time to figure out why the assignment is unnecessary and why you will fail.
Do something you are an expert in
If you’re whining because you think you’re a loser, do something you’re an acknowledged expert in. That will not boost your progress in things you’re bad at but will increase your self-esteem, so you can face things you are bad at with a new force.
Choose something people appraise you for, because every whiner has to recognize the power of “but.” Not the best student, but such a diligent daughter. Not the best worker, but extremely good at sports. Not good at socializing, but bakes wonderful cakes.
Follow your role model
I bet there are no whiners among the people you admire? (Except for the cases when you admire writers. There are a lot of whiners among writers. Please, think of someone like Jobs, Musk, or Jesus to complete this part of our instructions).
Your hero would never face any obstacles by whining. Think of what would he or she do in your shoes. As a rule, a step-by-step DIY troubleshooting by successful people looks like this:
- Calm down.
- Plan your actions.
- Get to business.
- Deal with it.
Remember that whining is also one of the main parts of a close relationship with our friends and family. Get rid of a whiner if he or she ruins your life by constant negative thoughts and toxic manipulation. But if it is your friend who is going through hard times and he or she decided to open his or her fears and feelings to you, have some compassion and just listen—but only for the first three times when the topic of the complaining comes up in a common conversation. Then, show him or her this article.