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Complaining or clarification

Complaining. It’s the expression of dissatisfaction, and if you asked my roommate, she could tell you how good I am at it. Unfortunately, she doesn’t complain about my complaining, so I can’t use her as an example, much less a reference.

Complaining is a form of expression—an art that no one needs help with—but how does complaining really make you feel? In the long run, does it really make you feel better to spend half an hour ranting about your Old Testament homework to your roommate? Afterwards, you still have homework to finish, and now you have 30 minutes less to do it.

Dr. Randall Feller, chair of ORU’s Behavioral Sciences Department, gave some insight into the psychology behind complaining and how it affects peoples’ lives.

“Where do you spend your time? Focusing on discontent leads to burn out complaining. We are focusing on the negative, not the possibility or potential,” he said. “When I worked with the abused and those broken homes, I heard stories that could break a person. It’s hard not to get wrapped up in the sorrows and depression of people. The thing that got me through it was focusing on hope and the active change in peoples’ demeanors.”

Focusing on positivity lifts people, while negativity leads to depression, especially when you don’t actively offer yourself solutions. We need to learn how to focus on the possibilities.

“Being problem saturated immobilizes people,” he said.

Constant complaining, Feller confirms, leads to immobility.

When you’re focused on your issues, it’s hard to find motivation to accomplish what you need to. Taking time to step outside of your current wave of emotions and examine how you can help your problems rather than just talking about them changes your perspective.

Feller went on to outline three different types of complainers: those who complain to complain, those who observe yet do nothing and those who complain in order to change.

The first thing that Feller pointed out to me was the Biblical standpoint on complaining.

“The Bible is all about renewing the mind, and in Philippians 2:14-17, the apostle Paul emphasizes the importance of focusing on the positive.” It might be more difficult to maintain an optimistic outlook, but in the end, it’s so much healthier for your body and mind. So give up the rants and do your homework. Or do it first then rant. Or do neither. It’s all completely up to you.