Harness The Power Of Complaining


Have you ever resolved to stop complaining only to find that a few hours into the experiment it seems hopelessly impossible? I’ve been there many times.

I can’t promise you a cure for complaining, but I do have an idea that solves two problems with one act.

Are you good at keeping a diary? I somehow realized even early on that keeping a diary was something worthwhile but I never managed to keep up the habit.

My childhood diaries are little more than dates followed by profound observations like “Hi” and “Bye.” It didn’t make for an exciting friendship.

So if you ever wonder what you should write in a diary, here’s my tip.

Complain to your diary.

There is no better listener than the blank page. It won’t judge you too quickly or look bored. It will listen until you’ve found the words to express your worries and will not throw pithy solutions at you.

Simply writing down concerns feels good, but more often than not before I’ve finished writing a solution comes to mind. Even more complex problems are easier to analyze when they sit objectively in front of you in pen and ink.

So the next time you want to complain to a friend or dump on a spouse, grab a sheet of paper or an old notebook and retreat to a quiet spot long enough to get all your feeling out. You can always throw it away if you don’t want any record of your emotions lying around.

I still find it hard to make the time to journal enough and even harder to take the time to reread what I’ve written, but it’s always rewarding when I do. After a month goes by I hardly remember I even had those struggles and take improvement for granted – a surefire way to stay unhappy and stoke the urge to complain.

Reading about past troubles that are no longer issues is a wonderful way to naturally produce feelings of gratitude and hope.


And now an administrative note:

I’ll be taking the month of December off of blogging to refocus and plan for the next year. I’ll give the Blue Ocean Families concept one more year of increased effort to see if it’s something I should continue with, or shut down. If you appreciate what I do here or see potential for growth, please email me personally or use the contact form to share your thoughts and suggestions. Thanks, and have a wonderful December!

5 thoughts on “Harness The Power Of Complaining”

  1. What a wonderful idea. Back when I kept a diary, I alternated between keeping it more of an impersonal record of events and recording my feelings. I always had in mind that others might read it someday, whether unintentionally or with my full permission, so I hesitated to say much that could hurt someone else (or because it would sound whiny and stupid). But then again, I figured, maybe it would be useful for our children to realize that I did struggle now and then. I never really resolved the issue, and it’s been years since I gave up writing it.

    But complaining to other people rarely has the effect I’d like. Being the kind of attentive, sympathetic listener who can help someone through an issue without being judgemental — that’s a rare gift, and even those who have it are often busy, tired, or distracted with their own problems. Of course I can always cry out to God, and I do, but the diary idea does allow the perspective of being able to look back with a more accurate memory. Thanks!

  2. It has helped me greatly to give myself permission to throw away any page I write. It is rare that I end up doing it, but it helps me process what I’m really feeling. Also, using a 19 cent spiral notebook instead of a pretty diary helps.

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