When Complaining is Useful

Complain, blame and get stuck or complain, process and progress. You get to choose.

Complain, blame and get stuck or complain, process and progress. You get to choose.

“You’ve been complaining a lot lately”

That’s what my husband told me last week after hearing me bellyache about a new endeavor I’ve taken on. Oh, I’m aware of it, but I’ve not found the source yet (a vital step in my process).

So it persists.

For now, at least.

After my husband pointed out the obvious (and I agreed), I replied with this answer:

“I know. It’s because I’m stretching myself in several areas of my life where I could stand to grow a lot and it’s really uncomfortable. I’ll figure it out.”

Now, I know complaining isn’t the answer and I could just put a lid on it, but in my case it is helping me think and get to that vital step in my personal process – the source.

Check it out:

I can complain and process or I can complain and blame – two heads on the same monster.

The first one leads to growth. The latter shirks responsibility and leads me to getting stuck and not growing.

Complaining and blaming is just that.

I am uncomfortable, I don’t like what I’m experiencing and therefore it is your fault.

No, wait. It’s my boss’s fault. My car’s fault. My upbringing, my job, my addiction, my responsibilities.

I have too much on my plate, you manipulated me into saying yes, you made me feel guilty, you told me to do it. There is not enough time in the day.

My. dog. ate. my. homework.

It’s base level toddler behavior and it’s rough on everyone.

I’ve been there. This is not a place from which you can grow.

This is a place many people get stuck.

Complaining can masquerade as excuses, whining, resistance, stalling, demanding, projection (putting our junk on other people) – the list goes on.

Complaining and processing.

Not a clinical term (I made it up) – but hear me out.

When I complain I voice something that is uncomfortable. Will my complaining change my discomfort?


I know complaining isn’t the answer, but all the feels have got to go somewhere. I can pretend it doesn’t exist and I can pretend that I’m okay or even grateful for my discomfort, but if I’m being honest it doesn’t look like that very often.

I say “I don’t like this” or “this makes me uncomfortable” or “I wish things were easier” or “I’m really struggling right now.”

All these things are complaints, but they don’t blame anybody for my struggle, for my discomfort. I take ownership of what is bothering me, even if I don’t like it.

Now, I have something to work with.

I can change my situation, or I can choose to stay the course knowing that I’ve identified something difficult.

I’ve also identified something in myself.

Will I continue or will I fold?

What resources can I use in my life to continue the course?

Prayer, asking for help, friendships, perseverance, studying, time management, self-care, rest, recovery, patience, solitude (not isolation). Anything that gets me from being stuck complaining and moves me to process and, ultimately, growth.

No complaints here.

I have season’s in my life where I don’t complain at all.

Things are rosy. Life is moving in a good direction and I’ve got no reason to complain.

It’s when I choose growth that I also choose discomfort and likely a bit of struggle.

Identify it quickly and then be patient as you grow.

(and sometimes do a little complaining along the way).


Categories: All The Rest

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