Even if we know complaining isn’t helpful, many of us do it unconsciously throughout the day. Here’s a way to stop and to retrain your brain so that you create more of what you want instead.
03:00 – Why we feel so drawn to complaining
09:00 – The instruction set to ‘complain’ is like malware in your bio-computer
16:00 – How to effectively deal with unpleasant situations without complaining
21:00 – Tips to break free from the trance of the conditioned mind
MindStory Inner Coach Book [Book on Amazon]
The 5-Step AVARA Model to Rebuild Trust in Yourself to Achieve Goals
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This is Ep 120 – How to Stop Yourself from Complaining So Much. Even if we know complaining isn’t helpful, many of us do it unconsciously throughout the day. Here’s a way to stop and to retrain your brain so that you create more of what you want instead. Hi, I’m Carla Rieger. And this is the MindStory Speaker podcast.
So there’s the conditioned mind, that’s full of the default programs, consciousness bias, mindstories that you didn’t consciously choose and then there’s this true self, this presence that lives in here and now, where you have choice over the stories you live by, where you can hold a neutral stance on external reality, that isn’t locked into certain train tracks of thinking, but has a spacious freedom that the conditioned mind doesn’t have.
Some sages throughout the ages have said you can assess your spiritual development, your personal development on how often you can stay in that spacious presence, that true self, free from the conditioning. So, a lot about what I talk on in this podcast is being a better person, leader, speaker, communicator through anchoring into this unconditioned, true self. It’s like a one-stop shop for massive effectiveness in life.
And it’s a practice over time, like peeling the layers of an onion, to get down to the core essence, without any of the overlays. Most of us are work in progress in this way. For example, you know when you are nervous about something like an interview, or public speaking, or going on a date, and a well-meaning friend says something like – just be yourself. And most people have a cognitive disconnect when they hear that, they don’t actually even really know what being yourself means. That’s because, you may or may not have peeled the onion down enough, you may not have met this part of you at all, or very often, or even realize there is this animating force within you that can see, do, and know all kinds of things that the conditioned mind can’t.
But, if you’re listening to this podcast, chances are you do have an understanding of what I’m talking about, and maybe you are there often, sometimes, or go in and out of that awareness. But if you can make this spacious presence, this true self connection part of your everyday life then it grows. What you focus on grows. Eventually this spacious, presence of the true self never leaves you. So you will be able to use your mind without always in the background having some chatter from the conditioned mind. Most of us are not 100% present each and every moment. Where not 100% of your consciousness is drawn into the mind stream that formulates the words you say. Most of us are lost in the permutation of the default programs.
There’s these train tracks of thinking that activates our emotions, that activates our actions, that activates our results. If you go on that trainride you tend to keep getting what you always got before, which you may or may not want. Usually there’s not too much wisdom in that kind of thinking. You’re just contributing to the unconsciousness of the human collective mindset. On the outside it might look like you are discussing how to solve problems, but you might not truly be allowing yourself to see beyond the problem, to change the frequency within yourself that started the problem in the first place. But when you operate more from this true self, this deeper wisdom, then you open up the possibility of living in an entirely different frequency where that problem doesn’t even exist. It’s like that famous quote that is often attributed to Albert Einstein, you cannot solve a problem with the same mindset that created it.
To get to that new mindset, that new frequency, you often need to stop thinking, get off the train of thoughts that you are used to thinking. That can create a kind of cognitive dissonance, a discomfort, a complete halting of your personality projecting itself into this reality. It can be jarring not only to yourself, but to others around you who expect you to act in certain ways. Think of any problem you used to have that no longer exists. If you can decode, deconstruct, analyze how you went from problem to no problem, you can better understand this phenomenon and do it again.
A simple example is where your external reality changes, where maybe you lived with family or roommate or spouse, and then you live alone. All kinds of issues that you needed to negotiate when living with others, no longer have to be negotiated. Because you live alone. But it can also happen when your internal reality changes. For example, a client of mine was eager to find a life partner and start a family, but couldn’t quite find the right person, the right circumstances didn’t show up. So, at a certain point she just decided to stop looking, stop trying to create that. No problem, no more issue. Life is fine just the way it is in terms of significant relationships. There’s also that strange phenomenon of the person who beats themselves for being overweight, and then finally accepts the weight they are, stops trying to bully themselves into eating less and moving more, and then they start to magically lose weight.
Or, I have seen this one a lot. A person’s wants to start a business. There is what they want to do, and then what they think the marketplace will pay for, and they try to find a marriage of the two. If they veer too much in the direction of what they think the marketplace will bear, but it’s not really what they had in mind, what doesn’t really turn their crank, I noticed they often ended up struggling, pushing, to find success, or if they did get successful, they ended up feeling trapped and burned out by it all. If they veer more on the side of doing what they want to do, and getting creative, thinking outside the box, tapping into this deeper wisdom in terms of how to make that into something people want, that they’re willing to pay for, they tend to have more success, and will stick with it longer. And it’s that inner shift from trying to do something that they think people want, to doing what they feel called to do at a deeper level where all of a sudden they go from trying to push a huge boulder up a hill, to things just magnetizing towards them. It’s often not what they wanted, or thought they needed, but if they let go of the train tracks of conditioned thinking on all that, they discover it’s perfect for them in a way they couldn’t see before. In all these instances, what really happened is that they changed their mindset, they jumped off the train, and the problem disappeared.
The reason that’s tricky to do at times is that, many of us have a dysfunctional relationship with the present moment, with what life is offering right now. And the way to know if you have a dysfunctional relationship with the present moment is to think about how much you complain…where you’re thinking a lot about what you dislike, what you hate, what you criticize, what you don’t want. So it could be other people that you complain about, or yourself, or circumstances. Everything usually fits into one of those three categories. For example, how your ex-partner parents your kids, how you keep running late for appointments, how bad the weather has been. Now if you really think about it, the conditioned mind loves to complain. But the body doesn’t like it. Because what happens when you complain? How do you feel? Uncomfortable, frustrated, disappointed, angry maybe. It feels good to the ego, the conditioned mind, because that strengthens the ego, the conditioned mind. Like when you complain about another person, that ego has enhanced itself. It’s like now I’m superior to this person or group that I’m complaining about. That’s what it looks for, that’s how it operates.
The ego feels superior when it can judge another negatively. Therefore it seeks out any opportunity to judge other people’s situations, places, actions – an entire consciousness bias, looking for the problems looking for the issues looking for what to nitpick about. It needs you to do that, to strengthen its existence. Now, as I’ve said on other episodes the egoic mind, the conditioned mind, is actually just like software in your bio computer. And some of it operates like malware, making your whole system function sub optimally. Some ego programs, some conditioned mindsets are useful, like how to tie your shoes, how to operate a car, how to bake a cake. These are just stored instruction sets so that you don’t need to relearn those things over and over again. But sometimes we store a series of instruction sets on how to act in a relationship, how to feed yourself throughout the day, or how to do a speech, and those instruction sets might be suboptimal. The original learning was flawed, and yet there it is on autopilot, operating on default every time you encounter that situation again, continually making the same mistakes over and over again. But, the more you can anchor back into the true self, you can look at these instruction sets, this entire story or MindStory you have about how to do something, or how to be in the world in certain circumstances and decide whether you want to keep doing it that way. So the more you’re willing to unlearn and relearn default areas of your life, the more free you become, the more effective you become. But, again, that takes practice, like building a muscle.
So, I will go so far as to say that everything you complain about is not the real you. And many of us start identifying with these thoughts, and even judging ourselves for being judgmental. But that’s again just the malware trying to fortify itself. Does that mean you should never complain, you should never look for faults? Of course not. You need to have a discerning eye. If you’re in the grocery store and you’re looking at three possible melons to buy, wondering which one is the sweetest, you want your discernment at top functioning, which is often a combination of logic, looking at external signs, but also tapping into your intuition that can actually sense into the health of the melon.
The problem comes when you are not able to stop yourself from complaining about things that, if you really think about, aren’t constructive. For example, how you look, how your brother acts around your mother, how there’s no one you can find to help you when you are shopping that store. Yes, certain discerning thoughts can help you if you’re looking tired, oh maybe I should get more sleep. Or, if your brother and mother ask for your opinion on how to improve their relationship, or that discerning thought can inspire you to write a positive suggestion for having an employee wander around seeing if they can help customers. It’s when you just want to complain, and you don’t want to find a constructive solution, or it’s something that just isn’t your business.
If you really notice, you will see that it doesn’t feel good to the true self which is intimately connected to your body. It feels good to the fictitious psychological entity that we call the ego, the conditioned mind. But if you could examine the physiological function, the body would feel it’s energy decrease when you complain. If you could observe your stomach lining, you might notice to become red. You might notice that cortisol secretions go up, which throws off your hormone balance, which makes you extra tired later in the day. It also might show up in your heart, your heart feels tighter, blacker, or more numb if you are complaining about someone in your life. You have to cut off any feeling of compassion, empathy, love, or even just every day respect or tolerance for other people’s differences. Life becomes this place full of stupid people, doing stupid things. How does that affect your energy throughout the day? How’s that going to affect your optimism about the future, or your motivation to be out the world interacting and doing things? You’re more likely to just wanna hide a way like a misanthrope, not taking any chances in life, writing off lots of people, opportunities, circumstances… Missing out on life… All because you let the malware replicate itself too much.
For example, have you ever sat in a group and watched someone lead the group, speak to the group, and they seem to have this underlying disdain for the people they are talking to, for even having to do the role they are doing? Do you want to be led by them, do you want to be open to what they have to say, you enjoy being in that group? Chances are… No. And yet, is quite common. Even if they are good at hiding it, people pick up on it. In contrast, have you ever sat in a group and watched someone lead the group, speak to the group, and they seem to have this underlying respect for the people they’re talking to, and they love the role they are doing? You tend to enjoy being led by them, or open to what they have to say, and even enjoy being in that group frequency. People are often unaware of how much the underlying complaining malware affects the frequency with which they do anything, it keeps it low. And like attracts like. People who complain tend to attract more people complaining about them, or more unsatisfactory situations, as opposed to people who just stay present, connected to their discerning mind, and willing to have compassion, respect, open-mindedness to situations and people… They tend to attract more people who are that way towards them, and more satisfying situations.
So the minute you notice yourself on this autopilot mode, which we can all get into, where you are complaining about someone you live with, or complaining about other drivers on the road, or complaining about what you did or didn’t get done that day, instead of just being lost in those thoughts… That is the beginning of freedom. That is the moment you have choice. You can say, okay I want to continue to be in this dysfunctional state, that tends to attract more of what I don’t want. Or, you can say maybe I don’t want to continue. Maybe I want to be in a more functional state, that attracts more of what I do want.
For example, say you are feeling upset about having to wait for someone who is late, and you notice you’re upset, you notice this tightness in your chest, and you just ask yourself the question – why am I upset? Because of the situation? No, I’m upset because of what this conditioned mind is saying about the situation. That’s an amazing realization, but you have to do it in the moment it happens. At first, you tend to realize after the moment has happened, and you look back on it and say oh that was silly that I got so upset that the person was late. I had to wait a few minutes, so what, it doesn’t really make much difference in the big picture of things. But then the more you do it, the more you catch yourself right in the moment, oh there’s that conditioned mind doing this thing again – getting upset at about what people say or do, getting upset at that noise, or the heat, or the wind.
So then, you have this moment to look closely, and you see it’s just this malware doing its commentary, trained to replicate itself. This thing that isn’t even you, doesn’t belong to you, it’s just some old default program that somehow got installed, that you can uninstall anytime you want. So its not really about the situation, it’s just your thoughts about the situation, which create emotions, which change your brain chemistry, which makes you see more of the things that you want to complain about. When you realize that all these situations, all these people are actually just neutral, they only have meaning based on the meaning you give them. People are only annoying because you’ve deemed them as annoying. Sounds are only annoying because you’ve deemed them as annoying.
I’m sure you’ve been in a group, where one person annoys you, but other people are not annoyed by that person. Or it’s not a big deal to them how that person acts. Similarly, you could be at a musical event, and you don’t like the music, and clearly other people do. It’s not the person, it’s not the music, it’s your interpretation, the meaning you give it, how you experience it. That’s a good reminder that everything that comes to you in your external reality, is neutral, it only causes a reaction in you by the thoughts you choose to have, by the meaning and interpretation you give to it, which then create certain emotions which then create certain actions which then create certain results in your life. If you can trace it all the way back to it’s just a thought I’m having about a neutral thing, it gives you so much power and freedom.
So when you realize that situations are neutral, then you no longer have to personalize things. You start to accept that other humans are often unconscious, they often say things that come out of their unconscious state, and it’s not about you, it’s just them being on autopilot. So its about becoming okay with, even friendly with what is, what’s actually happening in this moment. If action is required it will be more powerful, when it comes out of this neutral presence and not out of this reactive state, this resistance to what’s going on in the moment.
There will be wisdom in it. The action will more likely be skillful, because it comes from the whole brain thinking, instead of the fight or flight brain thinking. Think about it, we all admire people who can be calm, cool and collected in a crisis. Where they make smart, wise decisions when everyone else’s getting upset. That’s just a learned skill that anyone can achieve. And that kind of skill gets built just by these little decisions we make in the moment, these little moments of waking up to the present moment, waking out of the trance of the conditioned thinking, and seeing that is just the malware doing its thing, feeling empowered by knowing – I can delete it anytime by just overwriting it with conscious thought. Like, oh well that’s just the way it is right now, which is usually you can change the situation. If you can change the situation, it’s still better to be in a neutral state of mind so that your act of changing the situation comes from a place of wisdom and not from a place of reactivity.
So you ask yourself in each of those situations is there anything I can do now? Can I change the weather, can I put on a coat? Can I change the topic of the conversation? Can I leave and reschedule the meeting because this person is late? But you’re making all these decisions from this neutral place of, it’s okay with whatever is happening in this moment, and now I choose what I choose, that’s okay too. That’s a very different stance, than calling the late person and saying, where the hell are you? Being in a nonreactive, neutral state, you can just focus on the facts. We had a 45 minute meeting scheduled, which was supposed to start 15 minutes ago, just wondering where you are, and how you want to proceed. Neutral tone of voice, let’s just problem solve the situation. Let’s decide together how we want to proceed given the situations change. Who knows, maybe they had an accident, maybe their last meeting went over time, maybe they misunderstood the start time, maybe you misunderstood the correct start time. If you stay neutral, then you can avoid a lot of unnecessary conflict with others and within yourself. Which is much better on your health, much better on your daily perspective on life, and leads you to more out-of-the-box thinking.
For example, have you ever moved house with somebody else who had a very different style of moving? Like one person wants to be very detailed, organized, thorough, and the other person doesn’t really care about being detailed, organized and thorough. They just throw some things in a box at the last minute, squash it down if doesn’t fit, and don’t label it, not be ready when the movers arrive, things maybe get to the new destination, maybe not, it doesn’t really matter. Whenever you do things together with other people, there’s going to be differences, and if you focus on all the ways you don’t like how the other person does things, then you can make your life miserable. Instead of complaining about how lax and disorganized they are, maybe the organized person could learn to be a little bit more relaxed about it all. Maybe it doesn’t really matter if you have to open six boxes to find a spatula because the box wasn’t labeled. Maybe its better not spending 5 hours doing something when you could do it in a less detaily in 2 hours, same result in the end. Maybe the more relaxed person, could learn something too, instead of complaining that the other person is just too strict about how things need to be done. Maybe they could realize that waiting till the last moment actually is less relaxing in the big picture, maybe they could have packed things more carefully so that less things were damaged the other end. So it becomes a learning experience instead of a complaint fest.
The moment, we choose to rise above the complaining mind, is the moment we can learn new ways of being in the world, new ways of interacting with the present moment, which often leads to epiphanies, more success, more effectiveness, more joyful, better relationships, more peace of mind, and growth, freedom and becoming more aligned to the true self.
So, if you want to use our 5 part AVARA Model to work through things you’re complaining about, it’s very effective as breaking your free. Just go to the free tab of mindstoryacademy.com. You’ll see the MindStory Inner Coach book within which you can get the AVARA model. Just follow along with the five parts, moving from one section to the next and you’ll be amazed at how many epiphanies you get, and how much more quickly and easily you can let go of the complaining mind, be more neutral, and rise above.
So that’s it for today. Thank you for listening