Complaining usually involves a list of what's wrong without any mention of what to do about it. It can feel like being stuck in negativity. You have blinders on and can only see what isn't working.
Sometimes you can pop yourself out of this complaining state by doing the opposite and naming what you appreciate, what's working, and what you are doing to make it better.
But at other times the complaints keep coming back. This is a good time to give the complaints your full attention. Behind the complaints are important feelings and needs.
This can be difficult to do because you often have another part of you that thinks you shouldn't be complaining, that you should be happy with the way things are. This part of you tries to talk you out of your complaints using shame and guilt.
Giving your attention to the complaining voice doesn't mean you lack appreciation for the good parts of your life. You can both appreciate your life and notice what's missing.
It helps to let the complaining voice speak fully for a few minutes. You can either write down all it says or ask an empathy buddy to listen. When you have fully heard the complaining voice, you can start to hear what's behind it in several ways. One, you can ask if there are any specific events to which this voice is referring. This helps to ground you in specific parts of your life. Two, you can list the feelings behind these voices. This helps you connect with your heart more directly, rather than being in a negativity trance. Third, you can guess the needs to which the complaints are pointing. An easy way to access needs is to imagine that the relevant situation was changed in exactly the way you would like. Imagine yourself in this new situation and name what needs are met.
Now that you have found more clarity, connected to your heart, and named the needs, you can move forward with requests. Being fully connected with the needs, you can invite creativity to help you name requests that would meet these needs in your current circumstance.
This week notice when your complaining voice comes up. Follow the steps above to break the complaining trance and return to your aliveness.