The last statistic I read claimed 80 percent of our thoughts are negative, and 95 percent repetitive. Strangely, the more negative an experience, the more we return to it. Like vultures to a carcass, we’re drawn to what hurts. As the Buddhist saying goes, we want happiness and yet we chase our suffering.
– Nancy Colier, LCSW, Psychology Today
I like to equate being in regular contact with a constant complainer as similar to being with a person with ongoing intestinal issues expelling gas. They besmirch the room and fog my brain. I become irritable fairly quickly with these complainers.
Most of us complain at least occasionally. So what’s the deal with those who cling to constant unpleasant behavior? How do we shift this negativity and drop this hurtful habit of ours?
People exposed to intense negativity during early life often develop an addiction to negative experience and its verbal expression as adolescents. This experience may make up a major feature of our personality. One foremost reason is that it is an adaptive function to fit in with others around us. Another is that it forms a neurological pathway. Optimist people don’t fare well with negative ones, who don’t want to let go their habit. We hold onto learned behavior, and it becomes melded with our sense of identity.
To stop complaining and whining can feel (unconsciously) like abandoning our early caretakers. It secretly feels right and good to complain. And, of course, the result is an obnoxious person that people prefer not to listen to. Many of us participate in this behavior from time to time, but some seem to luxuriate in it. It’s a joy killer.
Our cells factually become addicted to negativity. They become covered with receptors for the neuropeptides of negativity which literally make groves in the brain so that each day, we are like hamsters, running the wheel of negativity. It can feel like it’s impossible to change. It’s not.
The main question is how do we stop the complaining that pushes others away and makes us miserable? Even better, how do we stop it going on internally in our brain? For one thing, we can begin to heal ourselves through various modalities such as psychotherapy, energy psychology, meditation, yoga, and encounter groups. Also, try this:
1) Develop awareness. Make a commitment to start noticing those moments when you are expressing negativity to others around you. Ask your spirit helpers to make you more conscious about it. Ask yourself what is actually bothering you.
2) Acknowledge that you are running the same old attitude, and that others likely don’t want to hear it.
3) Inquire. Ask yourself what you hope to accomplish with making a negative statement. Is it scary just to feel good and/or peaceful? Is it boring? Do you hope to incite discord between others? Be curious. Does it make you feel better? Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself what’s at risk when you let go of your negativity?
If possible, say “no” or “stop” out loud as the thought crosses your mind. Experiencing it through your senses will be more powerful.
4) Shift your focus to something more positive, like complimenting someone else, or how to fix a problem.
Try the tapping protocol if you are inclined to tap on your issues.
A lifetime of negativity and complaining will take a while to break. You will need patience with yourself. YOU ARE WORTH IT!
It will be easier to handle this now during the springtime!