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  • Writer's pictureRaveena Kay

How we should START complaining

I realized through observation and experience, our Westernized culture complains about EVERYTHING. The best place to observe these instances is in an airport/plane. There is someone who complains about the child crying in the back or the security line being too long. They complain about the flight leaving 10 minutes later than expected, about people walking slowly in front of them. This got me to research about complaining, and here is what I found:

1. There are different types of complainers/complaints:

  • Chronic complainer/complaints- They ruminate over problems, nothing will ever be good enough, and they focus on their setbacks more than their progress.

  • Venters/venting- They express emotional dissatisfaction and simply want validation.

*Interesting but not surprising fact: people who listened to the chronic complainer or the venter made them feel worse, AND the complainer also felt worse.
  • Instrumental complainer/ instrumental complaints- They complain in order to seek advice/solve problems. HOWEVER, most people do not do this. Most people do not voice their complaint to the person they are complaining about. Most people are not "picking their battles" about what to complain about. However, those who become an instrumental complainer are happier individuals (according to SCIENCE) because they were MINDFUL of their complaining. They were more STRATEGIC and had a specific goal in mind.

2. Sometimes complaining is vital- The Civil Rights Movement or Suffragette movement would not have happened if people did not complain, so THAT'S the key.... you need to complain for a CHANGE.

"Complaining without action is ineffective and useless...The key is you need to complain for a CHANGE".

3. Appropriate complaining can enhance positive growth- This can only be done not if you simply journal your complaint but if you vent your frustrations in a journal AND understand your emotions, how you're dealing with your emotions, and trying to understand deeper meaning about your complaints. The key is that you have to try to make meaning of your complaints.

"You must start creating meaning from your adversity. Then you will be happier, and have greater resilience towards life's obstacles"

The point of this article is not to stop people from complaining. It is about complaining smarter and healthier. Sometimes it is ok to vent. However, if you are a chronic complainer/venter, you might be pushing people away. If you are complaining and rejecting people's solutions all the time, you might be frustrating your support group/not seeing a different perspective. The goal is not to be positive all the time, but it is to be more mindful about what you're complaining about. The goal is to understand that if you complain, will you be willing to change the situation/talk to the person about what is bothering you?


Raveena Kay

About the author: Raveena Kay was born and raised in a Chicago-land suburb and currently resides in Chicago. Dog-lover, occupational therapist, entrepreneur, and now novice blogger, she hopes through humor, insight, and research her blogs will foster better relationships between people, improve one’s self, and increase one’s mental strength.

Through her background in psychology, sociology, and occupational therapy she hopes to inspire others to think critically about social issues and create more social activists.

She will also use her own Punjabi-American upbringing as well as her experiences throughout her child/adulthood to hopefully reach a wide array of people who are dealing with mental health issues, family issues, identity crises, or personality hindrances in order to create a more introspective community.


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