My post on Dealing with Difficult People – Complainer/ Whiner (Part 1) talks about the challenges one has to face when a loved one is a chronic complainer. This emotionally challenging problem can be cured with tough love and some patience. I have also mentioned a simple but effective remedy to get rid of this annoying habit and turning yourself into a happy and positive person.In Part 2 let’s see the other category of complainers:
2. Everyone else:
In this category you can put everyone other complainer you know other than the people close to your heart. In this category you can consider a complainer you work with or a neighbor or some distant relative we cannot get rid off or just a person you once met and somehow he/ she stuck with you. In short anyone you can live without.
The squeaking wheel doesn’t always get the grease. Sometimes it gets replaced.
Dealing with this category is simple as we are not emotionally involved with them. If you have to deal with a chronic complainer in this category you need to learn to give some firm replies to him/ her.
Whenever that person starts complaining don’t just be a passive listener. Try to understand what they are talking about; perhaps you can help them find a solution by asking simple questions like; “Oh! So what are you going to do about it?” or “How are you going to solve this problem?”
. How to identify a chronic complainer?
A chronic complainer is more interested in whining about an issue than to solve it. Till now you may have been a good listener to his/ her series of complains and this is precisely why the chronic complainer chooses you to vent out the huge negative flow of constant complaining.
“Say and do something positive that will help the situation; it doesn’t take any brains to complain.” -Robert A. Cook
Especially in the work place never agree with the complains the complainer is making not even by nodding your head unless you feel the same way; as the complainer can take the liberty to inform everyone else about your agreement and support to his/ her complains.
While the complainer is going on and on like a broken record and you cannot avoid him/ her just interrupt the conversation with sentences like; “I had no idea.” Or “Things don’t look so bad.” Or “Wow; is there anything positive about it?” Or “Sounds like you completely understood the problem, so what solutions have you thought about it?”
“Do not listen to those who weep and complain, for their disease is contagious.” – Og Mandino (author of The Greatest Salesman in the World)
This will come as a complete surprise to the complainer and as the complainer is more interested in the complains he/ she will not like your replies and questions. Gradually the complainer will stop considering you as his/ her chosen listener and you will find the peace and quiet you truly deserve.
“When you consistently maintain a positive frame of mind, you’ll become known as a problem-solver rather than a complainer. People avoid complainers. They seek out problem-solvers.” – Joseph Sommerville (author of Rainmaking Presentations)
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” — Theodore Roosevelt
It is a smart idea to compare between two or more products before purchasing. Today with so much information available we can easily find ready customized comparisons that help us with our purchase related decisions. Yes I am saying comparison is good but only for material things.
When we start comparing ourselves and our loved ones with others then we open the whole new painful world of misery. I strongly believe comparison steals our happiness. In the first post of this series “7 Mind Traps That Steal Our Happiness – Trap 1. What Other People Think About Me?” We took an example of a mother (Scenario 2) who mistreats her son because “what others think” was very important to her. This adversely affects her relationship with her son for lifetime and she probably never figured out why she has a bad relationship with her child.
Now let’s say this son grew up into a nice young man. He does not tell his mom anything that she may not like and always shows her the rosy picture to avoid any drama. He is good with hiding his troubles as he has practiced it his whole life. The mother is very much concerned about what other think about her and her family and hence constantly keeps looking for praise worthy stories about her family to tell her friends. The burden of these stories part fact part fiction falls on the entire family as they have to act out as per the story and remember every detail so that they do not unveil the truth.
“How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.” — Marcus Aurelius
Comparison mindset is very similar to “what others think” mindset. In comparison a person constantly compares his life with others or with someone specific. His or hers life’s parameters become limited to the people who are around hence that person never becomes any better than the company he keeps.
This mindset takes a deep toll on all the people emotionally close to him/ her. Everybody in the family is compared with family members of the others. Every property, asset, electronic equipments, furniture, garden, cloths and everything visible to eye is compared with the others and the others have always got it better. Even the family pet is not spared in the disturbing mind game of comparison.
Below are 4 major adverse affects of a comparison mindset:
1. Constant Stress and Unhappiness:
This person is always unhappy because he is always under some or the other peer pressure.
2. Always in Some Kind of Race:
This person feels that he needs to stay ahead of people around him or some one particular to feel superior and hence always tries to compete with others.
The comparison mindset person envies others success and happiness as if others got something better than that means he/ she is falling behind and feels inferior.
4. Goals are Limited to Surroundings:
I know a child who always came first in his class for some reasons he had to switch schools. The first thing his father did after he settled in school was to find out who came first in that class. It was a girl; she always came first in the class and was a model student. She was great in studies and extra curriculum activities. The father proudly told me all about her then said he had an intense talk with his child. He told his kid do whatever you have to do, I’ll get you whatever you need but just make sure you score more than that girl and become the new number one student.
Did I mention this child was in 6th grade? How crazy was that father’s talk? I felt as if he was not raising a child but training a horse for some race. He limited his child’s potentials to the girl’s achievements. His child could be better than that and why compare with one what if some other kid suddenly falls in love with studies and becomes the new number one student will the kid’s priority change to doing better than this new kid now?
What kind of stress are we putting on school kids? There are millions of schools in the world and millions of number one students. How crazy can you go trying to outsmart all these number one students? Why cannot we teach kids to become thinkers and to achieve excellence in the field of his/ her interest? The only comparison we need to do is with our selves, try to break our own records and try to achieve our own goals and dreams.
Your child’s goal may be bigger than anyone in the world. He/ She may be destined to become something greater than anyone in history so why to limit the genius in your child by comparing with the people around you. The creator has made us unique for a reason. The most we can do is become the best possible version of ourselves. Comparison is for non living things that cannot think or dream if you can then please stop comparing with others and start living.
Is happiness difficult to find or we keep losing it bit by bit because of our mindset. In my search to save happiness from leaking away; I found 7 major mind traps that can actually steal our happiness. To discuss each in details I think it will be a good idea to talk about one or two at a time.
Trap 1. What Other People Think About Me?
“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” — Laozi
A child comes crying home from school. He runs in his mother’s arms and cries for a while. The mother tries to calm him down and asks him what the matter was. Wiping his tears he tells her that everyone in school taunts him and teases him. They all call him stupid and ugly. They make fun of him for being slow in school work.
Scenario 1: The mother consoles him that he is smart and beautiful. He should not care about his classmate’s remarks and he should completely ignore them. She promises herself to help him study harder so that he can do well in school. She understands his pain and tries to help him overcome the challenge in his early age.
Scenario 2: The mother first gets angry about situation. Then she remembers that the neighborhood children go to the same school so they might tell their parents about this. What will the neighbors think about my son? They will blame me for his failure in school. I will be labeled as a bad mother. How will I face my neighbors now? In her fit of anger she yells at the child to go study and tells him that he will not be allowed to play or watch TV till his grades get better.
One situation handled in two different ways. Will the result be different? Of course it will be. Which scenario will help the kid overcome his problem? My guess is the first scenario. The mother makes the kid comfortable gives him the most important lesson of life to not let others opinion affect him and then tries to help him solve the problem.
This kind of response will give the child confidence that he can come to his mother with any problem and she will listen, understand and suggest him what he can do. He will always share everything about his life with his mother and their relationship will become stronger.
In the second case the child will get terrified by the thought of telling his mother any of his troubles. He was already low and she made him feel worse she even punished him. He will stop sharing everything with his mother. He will only tell her what she wants to hear so he can avoid any unpleasant reaction from his mother. He will keep secrets from his mother and will find some other person who will listen about his troubles and help him overcome them. This other person can be his father, a sibling, a relative, a friend, a teacher or any other person this child finds easy to connect with as his connection with his mother will become weaker.
“The unhappiest people in this world, are those who care the most about what other people think.” — C. JoyBell C.
These scenarios were my attempt to highlight how dangerous it can be to think about others people’s onions. Why do we give others especially people who talk behind our backs so much control of our life? How does it matter what others think about us? People make such stupid mistakes trying to impress others that they completely lose focus from things that our actually important.
People will always talk and gossip about you and everyone else. No matter what you do, they will always find a way to talk about you behind your back. The day we set our mind to ignore what other people think about will be the day we will experience true freedom. Give it a try. Do something without a single thought of others opinion. Once you taste this freedom I am sure you will never ever care about what others think about you.
Dr. Wayne Dyer gives a beautiful explanation about the fear of others opinion. He says there are two things we need to think about character and reputation. One person can have many reputations as reputation is nothing but opinion of others so if 100 people know that person he will have 100 reputations as everybody will look at him in a unique way. So it really does not matter who thinks what about you as those opinions will constantly keep changing and updating.
“Why should we worry about what others think of us, do we have more confidence in their opinions than we do our own?” — Brigham Young
Character is far more important. It is what we think about ourselves. Character builds our reality. It controls our subconscious mind that controls our every action. The only opinion that matters is our own. Plus it is far easier to work on one character then hundreds of reputations. Strong character will build an amazing life.
“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.” – Dale Carnegie
Some people complain about everything under the sun. We find them in our home, in our neighborhood, in our workplace or even when we go on a vacation. Sometimes these complains are genuine but what to do when we have to deal with a chronic complainer.
“The tendency to whining and complaining may be taken as the surest sign symptom of little souls and inferior intellects.” – Lord Jeffrey
A chronic complainer is a person who finds fault in everything and everyone around him/ her and makes everyone around
aware of the fault. A chronic complainer highlights the negative points in everything no matter how good the situation is. Nobody enjoys the company of a complainer/ whiner and dealing with a chronic complainer is very stressful and challenging.
“If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.”-Anthony J. D’Angelo
Have you noticed how tired and low you feel after listening to complainers long list of complains. This happens because the complainers are energy drainers our brain shutdowns and losses energy when we constant hear whining and complaints. Avoiding such people is not always possible so how to save our brain cells from melting in the presence of such negativity.
“Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns, be happy that the thorn bush has roses.”-German Proverb
I have divided complainers in two categories: –
1. Loved ones:
It is emotionally challenging and very frustrating to deal with a loved one who starts behaving like a chronic complainer. We feel the pressure to support and sympathies the complainer and we try to make everything as pleasant as possible to stop the complaints.
“He that falls by himself never cries.” – Turkish proverb
You may try solving all the problems the complainer is talking about and you may get mentally and physically exhausted. Still it should not come as a surprise to you if the complainer keeps complaining even if everything is perfectly good because a chronic complainer can find faults in anything and everything.
Tough love is the only solution when you want a loved one to stop whining. Talk back to the complainer in firm and clear voice.
If the complainer is complaining about something not so bad say clearly and firmly; “That’s not so bad.” or “It doesn’t bother me that much.”
If the complainer is repeating complaints from past and not letting it go; say something like “Didn’t we just discuss about this an hour ago?”
When you find the complainer in a calmer mood discuss your concerns about his/ her chronic complaining habit. Help him/ her become aware of the problem. Tell how you feel about it. If the complainer cares about you in the same way you care about him/ her you will see immediate improvement in the behavior.
You may get into lots of arguments and fights as the complainer will go into a complete denial stage initially but when he/ she wants to change and ask for your help you can suggest a remedy mentioned in the book by Will Bowen; “A Complaint Free World” – ware a rubber band or thread or bracelet on one of your wrists and change it to the other wrist every time you complain. Your goal is to go 21 days without changing it from one wrist to another. If you can go 21 days without a single complaint you can get cured of becoming a chronic complainer. You will also become a positive, happy person that others love to have around.
“Complain to one who can help you.” – Yugoslavian proverb
2nd category continued in “Dealing with Difficult People – Complainer/ Whiner (Part 2)”