How to Stop Complaining and Criticizing Unnecessarily
Written by Naren on December 5, 2008
Who does not like to grudge, grouch, complain, and criticize? Who hasn’t done it – almost everyone living in every nook and corner of this world does it. And yes, we all are aware of the fact that it’s not good to complain or criticize unnecessarily, still we tend to do so. What is it that’s so addicting and hypnotizing that we never seem to learn a lesson, and cannot stop complaining and criticizing repeatedly? What is the psychology behind it? How to stop complaining and criticizing unnecessarily? This article will endeavor in answering these questions and offer 5 key solutions to help you stop complaining and critcizing for unnecessary reasons.
The Gratification of Ego
Human beings have suffered tremendously in the whole history just because of one thing, and it’s their egos. And the most frustrating thing is that there is no physical existence of ego. Science hasn’t been able to prove it, but we cannot deny its existence and its implications on our lives. It’s there somewhere in our minds, and has been haunting us forever.
Mind creates ego and we create mind. Mind is already a big problem according to the mystics and enlightened souls; and in addition if one has an egoistic mind then the matter is more serious. If mind alone causes so much trouble then the mind filled with ego can cause havoc in one’s life. And instead of kicking ego out of our minds, we offer a comfortable and cozy space for our egos to grow and flourish.
One of the psychologies for our constant complaining is that we all achieve a great satisfaction while doing so. It gives us immense pleasure. And, it’s quite easy to complain. For example, I was not able to finish off my assignment today because Mr. Y showed up late in the office. I couldn’t pass my test because I didn’t have any time to study. There are always excuses and we are always complaining about things. A poor man complains of not having enough money, and a rich man complains of not having more money. A bachelor complains wishing he was married and the married man complains wishing that he was dead. Nobody is ever content with their life.
It’s has become human nature to complain about anything whatsoever. It seems that we all like to complain. Everybody is ahead in this mad race of complaining. Why – because it fulfills their ego and it veers them away from their responsibilities. That’s right, we are scared of our own responsibilities and we always find some easy way to complain about our inabilities. This only proves our laziness, incompetent mind, and stupidity. Yes, everybody is looking for free lunch and do not want to work for it. And, if they can’t achieve then they start complaining about others, the government, God, society, pretty much everything.
Haven’t we all read that story of a fox who tries all it can to get the grapes, and in the end, he gives up saying that grapes are sour. The fox could have just walked away simply appreciating its constant efforts, but no, it has to complain.
Likewise, we do the same thing as the fox. If we cannot achieve certain things that we have always wanted then we start complaining and criticizing others. Instead of dissecting the reasons behind our failures, we easily get off the hook, by simply blaming others. Why can’t we simply accept things the way they are and move forward in life? Why cannot we accept life in its totality? Please read How to Live Life in its Totality? as it encompasses this topic in detail.
Like I said earlier, it’s easy to complain and criticize as it solves all our problems, in a quick and easy way. It does but temporarily; in fact, we are simply deceiving ourselves by doing so. We are simply consoling and making us feel better about ourselves.
And once we are done with complaining, we start criticizing as it provides us with a feeling of utmost satisfaction. Our whole being pervades with a tinge of happiness when we do so. It makes us feel good about ourselves. It places us in a superior position than the others. People shower us with the words of praise and appreciation because we can criticize things so well. And, we enjoy such attention. This is how our egos are being strengthened more and more. And, we love being the center of attraction. We love when people are attentive to us and when they listen to us. Even though we know that most of the time the criticism is stemming from our jealous mind.
And we have already mastered the skills of criticizing as well. Sometimes we hurl negative criticisms and sometimes we simply fake it by offering positive criticisms, because rarely we find someone who criticizes out of love and compassion.
In this fast paced world, when everyone is trying to thrive in cut throat competition and where dog eat dog mentality reigns among people, who is seriously interested in offering honest criticism? Who has time to praise you for your hard work and efforts? Who wants to help you grow and be successful? And, everybody is scared and jealous – if everybody starts becoming successful then what would happen to them? So people are just worried about themselves and all they care about is the fulfillment of their own egos, and that’s it. Because, it’s easy to criticize on about anything… For instance, one might say, “God has made us so beautiful.” Immediately, you can come back with something, and say, “What’s so beautiful? Look, we are all suffering. And, where is God in the first hand? Can you prove it to me?” Somebody might start talking about love and beauty. Then you can again criticize, by saying, “What are you talking about? What is love? Where is beauty? Can you bring beauty to me? Can you show what love is?”
And some might say that, “God exists in everybody’s heart.” Again, you can argue back by saying, “Can you prove it to me? No surgeon has ever seen God inside anybody’s heart ever.” See, how easy it is to criticize and complain. You can be negative about everything that exists in the existence. You can have a negative outlook on almost anything. For this, you don’t need to be smart or intelligent. Anybody can do it. But, again this kind of approach is not going to fulfill the ultimate goal or purpose of your life. This kind of attitude will never quench the thirst of your inner being. This bragging, this senseless arguments and criticisms about everything will eventually crimp the significant growth inside you. One day, you will come to an understanding that in a pretentious game of gratifying your ego, you have auctioned the inner beauty of your soul. So Be Aware, next time when you are offering criticism to others. Is the criticism coming from your heart or it’s simply nurturing your own ego. Meditate upon it and then only criticize others.
So how to stop complaining and criticizing?
Let me offer you some of my suggestions:
1. Deep Acceptance
First you need to accept yourself just the way you are (Please read The Joy of Being Yourself as it delves more into this), then only you can accept others. Otherwise, you will always be complaining about others and their habits. As I have been saying it’s quite easy to complain and criticize. Any idiot can do so. In fact, people who complain and criticize for no valid reasons even though they try to come up with logical and rational reasons are idiots, in any case. They are simply trying to be wise. But, they know inside their own self worth. Hence, only when you learn to accept others the way they are without judgments of any kind then your complaining will vanish by itself. Just don’t jump to conclusions or judgment about others without knowing them. You might only know a few things about Mr. X but you do not know everything about him and his life. Thus don’t judge by the appearance or by your fragmentary knowledge, try to learn more about the person. Once you cultivate this habit of deep acceptance, instantly you will find joy and friendliness pervading your inner being. This will be your first step to help you stop complaining and crticizing.
2. Accept Responsibilities
This is also one reason why people complain – because they are afraid to accept their share of responsibilities in life. Hence, they fabricate all the excuses in the whole wide world to complain about. And, we learn this game in childhood. I remember as a kid whenever I didn’t want to go to school, I always had a headache, stomachache, toothache, hair ache, and so on… Once you grow up, you get more refined and smart in knitting excuses and complaining. For example, I couldn’t show up to work, because my wife is sick. I cannot come to work tomorrow because my car broke down. Let me give you another example from my own life. For a long time, I used to complain about my international status for not being able to accomplish things that I have aspired to be in life. I used to say, I wish I was born here in America. I wish my English was better. Blah! Blah! Blah!
These complains are just an easy way to escape from our responsibilities and get off the hook. Hence, stop complaining and be responsible for your actions. The Existence has given us everything, all we need is to look around and be grateful on what we have. Trust me, we have everything we need; we just need to have eyes to see in such a way. This is your second step to help you stop complaining and criticizing.
3. Drop Your Ego
Earlier in the article, I mentioned that almost everybody complains and criticizes. However, there are only a few people who don’t do so. Only those rare ones who have arrived to a supreme understanding and have managed to completely drop their egos. I am not saying that you have to be enlightened for this; however, if you realize that it is not you, it’s your ego, which is the root of all problems then you will also stop complaining and criticizing unintelligently. Instead of dropping the ego, we nurture and nourish it, and make it bigger and stronger. This is why we find faults in everybody or everything around us. Hence, the key is to drop the ego, and have a different outlook on things. Again let me reiterate, the key to drop ego is a complete understanding – the understanding that it is our ego, which is impeding our growth and blocking our viewpoints on seeing things the right way. Only when the wall of ego that has surrounded our world is brought down then we will adopt a new viewpoint on life, people and the things around us.
Once, you follow the above three steps on how to stop complaining then without any doubt compassion will flow by itself and soak your entire being. Deep acceptance and dropping of ego will give you a new direction and will shower your vision with a new light. Now, you may see things completely different than you used to. Now, your heart is filled with compassion, love and friendliness. So all you can offer is what you have. The same person or the same circumstances that you used to complain and criticize against may seem different now. Since your vision has changed, your way of looking at things has also changed. Instead of being harsh, antagonistic and too critical, now you would like to help, motivate, and inspire the person that you used to criticize. Now, you have been transformed, and for better. Now, you don’t see any point in complaining or criticizing. You have realized, what’s the use of poking your nose into somebody else’s business. Before, you were simply satisfying your ego, now your ego has disappeared; hence, you will see the futility of senseless complaining and criticizing.
5. Put Yourself in The Same Situation as The Others and Be Creative
Many people complain and criticize for no reason at all. After having done so for a long time, now it has become their habits. Some people complain as they have nothing better going on their lives. They are so miserable inside that they have to find some way to bring it to the surface. And, they always find people who seem weak and vulnerable to exercise their power upon. You probably have experienced such instances in your day-to-day life, for example, at the workplace, gas station, grocery store, mall, restaurant, parking booth etc. People vent off their anger to the people who are working in such places without thinking. This is all because they are being haunted by the ghost of their low self esteem, and again this is their only chance to feel superior about themselves. These people are suffering from incompetency and inferior complexity – that they have to seek some poor, innocent and vulnerable to prove how better they are.
The cure is to put yourself in their shoes and seek reasons why you are doing so. How would you feel if people behave you the way you did? Won’t you be hurt? Do you think it is appropriate and nice of you to do so? You don’t have to seek for answers far ahead; they will be afloat in your eyes soaked in your tears.
My other suggestion would be to find some time to Be Creative. Yes, immerse yourself in anything that you are passionate about. Once you are productive and creative then you don’t have to adopt the quick and cheapest way such as to complain or criticize others to feel better about. You are so engrossed and intoxicated in your work that you won’t bother about complaining. Have you seen a poet complaining when he is so immersed creating poetry in the beatitude of nature? I haven’t heard any poet saying, “I wish the wind was blowing south, or the sun had set a little later.”
I am not saying that all criticism is bad and that we should not criticize at all. Please do not be mistaken. All I am suggesting is to be conscious of your criticism. Do not just criticize or complain without knowing anything. You should first have a deep understanding of the subject. Do your homework first and then start criticizing. It’s easy to be a critic, but to be a good one, it’s quite difficult. For instance, there are thousands of movie critics, but there is only one Pauline Kael. She has a well rounded and deep knowledge in her field, and she knows what she is doing. Hence, my emphasis is: You should dedicate your time and energy first and then only you should criticize. Your criticism should be honest and humble. It shouldn’t stem from your unawareness, idiocy, and egoistic mind. Your criticism should always help the others grow.
Add some compassion, some love, some friendliness, and some intelligence in your critique. Blend all together and serve it. Certainly, it will yield a growth and motivation among us.
Meditate upon the above points and who knows you might arrive to a stage, when you may not even need to criticize anymore. By then, you will start accepting things in its totality. For instance, you might see the beauty in both the rose flower and its thorns. You might start appreciating the beauty of life in its totality. I again recommend you reading How to Live Life in its Totality? as it talks more on this subject.
Once you move up to such a level of intelligence and understanding then complaining and criticizing will stop by itself, and you might be able to communicate even through your silence. You may not even need words.
In the end, I would like to emphasize on one more thing: Just remember that the whole psychology behind the game of criticizing and complaining is simply the path that you have taken to make yourself better, higher and more knowledgeable than the others. You are just enforcing others to acknowledge that you know and have more information than them; hence you are special and deserve respect or attention. This is nothing but simply your ignorance. It is simply you gratifying, helping and strengthening your own ego. You are simply taking this aggressive approach just to prove that you are wise and intelligent. Nonetheless this negative outtake won’t take you far in your path towards inner wisdom. Hence, by paying close attention and following the above mentioned steps would most certainly help you stop your chronic complaining and criticising to a major extent.
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