4 Important Ways Complaining is Good for You

We had a time of joyous complaining before Easter lunch this year.

Politicians spend all their time trying to make each other look bad. Putin won’t stop until someone stops him. One case of Covid and schools shut down. Prices go up by the week. Gas prices are out of control.

New appliances we ordered in January won’t be here until June. Our daughter’s new garage doors won’t be in for several months. (A tree fell on their garage.)

Compared to the world’s problems our complaints are small potatoes but complaining felt strangely joyful.

A little complaining goes a long way. Image of a tiny frog.

Ruminating and venting:

Ruminating – replaying negative experiences and emotions – isn’t good for you. Ruminating is connected to depression, anxiety, self-sabotage, bitterness, and destroyed relationships.

Venting – in small doses – is opportunity to feel seen. Beware of habitual venting that becomes ruminating.

Repeated thoughts become habits. Habits become character.

Chronic complaining:

Chronic complaining contaminates life and relationships.

Monitor your complaints. Lousy leaders complain about everything

A little complaining goes a long way. Avoid constant complainers and don’t become one yourself.

Pretending everything is great is stupid. Everything is never great. Image of a bug-eyed cartoon bird.

4 ways complaining is good for you:

  1. Negative emotions are normal and healthy. Unrealistic expectations that we should always be happy make us feel worse. Life isn’t perfect.
  2. Complaints are a way to get to the root of a problem.
  3. Bonds are often made and strengthened around shared complaints. Listening to complaints is one way to let others feel seen.
  4. Unhappiness motivates change.

“Yes, it’s good to complain, yes, it’s bad to complain, and yes, there’s a right way to do it.” Dr. Kowalski

Turn toward solutions when you complain.

When complaints acknowledge and accept negative situations, they become a platform for solution-finding. The question to ask is, “What am I going to do about this?”

Tip: How to respond to chronic complainers: 7 Truths about Chronic Complainers Every Leader Needs Today

How might complaining be advantageous?