Be it nagging parents, bratty siblings, too-good-to-be-true roommates whose petty behaviors make us tick, or coworkers who drive us crazy, we all have people in our lives that annoy us. But, such is life. They’re not going away. Thing is, you get *to choose* both how you respond to these people, and who makes the cut when it comes to your inner circle.
I used to complain a lot. In fact, more than I like to admit. That said, I’m actually pretty selective as to whom and about what I complain [NOTE: I’m not talking venting stress to friends, or leaning on someone for support in a tough time…that’s normal, and healthy]. When I’m annoyed with someone, my mom and my sister are my go-to’s. My mom listens I think, in part, because she is 800 miles away and gets to “hear my voice” lol. I ramble on…and on and on, and after asking if I’m “done” she always asks me the same thing: “Well that’s great, Em, but what do you want me to do about it?” More often than not, I have no response. It’s not that she doesn’t care, but rather that I, not she, am the one in a position to take action. You are not powerless: if you don’t like something, change it.
Then, there’s my sis, Steph. She’s everything I’m not, but I think that’s what makes our relationship work so well, now. FYI it didn’t used to be that way so for those of you that have siblings and fight, there is hope lol. Be patient. You may have a best friend in your sibling that you didn’t even know about. Anyways, I love her to death but she puts me in my place and tells it to me like it is, EVERY time. And she makes me laugh. All good things. You know how they say different people serve different roles in your life? She’s my pipeline for tough love. And it’s prolly best that she awards me nowhere near the air time that my mom does. Our conversations go a little something like this:
[ME, in high-pitch anxiety-ridden voice–my family makes fun of me for this
#blacksheep]: “OMG. You will never believe what happened?!
[SIS]: What’s the problem?
[ME]: Explains and is cut off.
[SIS]: Em, you need to chill out. Take a deep breath and call me back, k? Thx. Byeee.
Still, I know she’s got my back. And when I really need her, she’s there to listen (above excerpt does not constitute “real need”). In our last call over nothingness, she said something that really resonated with me: “something’s only a ‘situation’ if you make it one.” In other words, YOU are the one who *allows* things to become situations. Make sense?
I am guilty on several accounts of having made a big deal out of something that would, to the Average Joe, seem so small. Fortunately more so then than now, I will sometimes (mis)interpret others’ words/actions as trying to compete with me; basically, trying to make something that’s not a competition just that. Here’s what happens next: guard goes up, stress hormones are activated and soon trigger a fight-or-flight response [NOTE: We’re not talking physical fights…that would be scary. Basically, enter Em into beast mode. Thought on the brain? “Competition is on. Don’t lose.” Either that, or I shut down.] Now I’m definitely a competitive person in some areas of my life, but mostly with myself. That said, if the circumstance is right, sometimes the switch will inadvertently flip. Hey, at least I catch myself, right?
On a side and sort of related, but mostly not, note, I am definitely one to compete with the person next to me on the treadmill…they just don’t know it (does anyone else think like this?!) :p Or like the time a passerby commented on my small frame, after having seen me running sprints: “You shouldn’t be able to run that fast- your legs are so short!” Instead of reacting to his comment, I channeled that energy instead toward a killer treadmill workout the next time. Actions speak louder than words. So, start doing 🙂
Here are my top six reasons/tips for why you should stop complaining and learn to deal:
- It’s a waste of both time AND energy. You could be doing something 10x more productive. Or relaxing (post coming soon!). Do the choices you make tend toward energy renewal? Or energy drain?
- Under react not overreact. If someone is doing something to elicit a desired response and they’re not getting that response, they’ll stop. It’s not rocket science.
- “Pick your battles.” This was a common one in my house growing up and could’ve been my dad’s tagline #DadAdvice. My sister and I fought over anything and everything. Ask yourself this: at the end of the day, does it really matter? Some things are worthy of your time and energy (see #1). Others, not so much.
- Other people get tired of listening to you complain. ‘Nuf said. Energy drain at it’s finest. How many of you have been there?
- Write it down. A year ago, I would’ve looked at you and said, “Who does that?!” But seriously, it doesn’t have to be a blog. Could be, but whether it’s a journal that only you read, or random pieces of paper strewn about your room…whether you re-read them or not, there’s something very therapeutic about recording your thoughts. I’m not telling you not to feel these things, but to avoid the problem that is #4, this might be a good alternative outlet. Write all you want. It makes you feel heard.
- You can only control you. So don’t focus on anything but THAT.