"Conscious Complaining"..."And Another Thing!"
Updated: Nov 19
Lovely photo, eh? Yeah, that's me in my "And another thing" sorta rant.
Ever have one of those days where you just need to let out the frustrations? Yeah, I get it, right now that may be every day! The pandemic sure keeps me at the edge of frustration, and it seems that regular life and work things surmount higher.
It used to be that I would come home from work, my husband, and I would discuss our days. When it came time for me to share, he would start problem solving or offering advice, which made me feel worse. I wasn’t ready to solve the problem I just wanted to dish.
One day I said, “Can I just say out loud what happened, I just really need to say it. I am not sure I want to fix it.”
Boom! Magic! I noticed, when he just listened and didn’t offer advice, I felt so darn much better!
Karla McLaren in her book, The Power of Emotions at Work confirms this hunch. She explains a process she calls "Conscious Complaining"
Here’s how ya do it:
1) Find a safe and private place to complain
2) Choose your method of complaining: you can do this out loud to yourself, you can journal or find a trusted companion to say it out loud to
3)Let it rip. Write or state out loud your complaints. Really say it all, don’t hold back.
4) If you are doing this with a friend the friend’s role is to just nod and say nothing or to add in affirmative phrases like, “Yeah, or yes, or you got it.” Something that helps you to let it out but doesn’t change your course of complaint.
5) Keep going until you get it all out
6) Take some deep breaths and relax
7) If you have done this process with a partner, allow them to have a turn.
McLaren explains that “When you have full permission to complain and express in this intentional way, you will find that your honest emotional complaints will lead you to the root of your problems. It brings your problems to a conscious place of awareness and with this you can have room for new options and ideas.”
And further, I believe this act of empathic listening either from yourself, your journal or another gives us the satisfaction of being heard and that is truly rewarding, empowering and allows for deep relaxation.
There you have it. Conscious Complaining is a useful way to relieve daily frustrations, a path to relaxation and an openness to creative problem solving.