Today is kind of like a rant session mixed with a bit of confusion at human behavior. You see I am confused as to why it is human nature to want what we do not have then turn around and complain when we got what we wanted and it turned out to be something we did not expect. Boy, wasn’t that a mouthful. Try speaking that sentence out loud while you reread it. Yes, you should and will reread it several times.
Humans are very fickle creatures. If we are out of work, we complain, rant, and whimper that we need a job, we are out of money, we cannot pay our bills or have any fun at all. Yet, when we get a job, we complain that we work too hard, or too many hours or our coworkers are idiots, or we need a vacation.
If we never see our friends or family we sit and complain about how they never contact us. Yet, do we ever go out of our way to contact them? Some of you might say, “Yes, all the time.” But are you being honest with yourself here? So change the scenario here, what if we have someone in our lives that is constantly around calling, texting, showing up unannounced and really wanting to be a part of our lives. We then complain that this person is crazy or annoying. It truly is a never-ending cycle of self-destructive behavior.
It just seems that in today’s world not one person knows how to accept things for what they are and truly just be happy. I take that back, Mark Manson the author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck is the exception to this rule. We habitually complain about every aspect of life. We under react, overreact or become indifferent and num. We have a burning desire to want things done OUR OWN WAY and when it does not happen or people don’t live up to our expectations, we are truly pissed and it affects our daily lives.
So HOW do we get past this era of being complainers?
For starters, we need to admit to ourselves that we are this way. We are not that one special bubble that won’t pop. Next, we need to accept the fact that we set the expectations for others too high. We imagine in our heads a perfect little picture of how things will turn out and get mad at the other person for not responding correctly. We assume the person acted differently than expected just to slight us. In all actuality, we need to be mad at ourselves for setting that imagined bar higher than the horse could jump.
This is one cycle that needs to be broken. It is very problematic behavior that will most definitely be ineffective at solving the issues or problems we face. The sad truth of the matter is that every one of us has issues with controlling our emotions when something truly matters to us or when we have put a certain expectation on whatever it is. Yet, 90% of us will never admit to having this issue with our emotions, reactions, and responses.
To understand we must first be interested in defining emotions vs feelings. This is hard to do because a good deal of the population links the two together and thinks they are the same thing. In actuality, they could not be more different.
Emotions are a physical reaction coded in our genes that can be measured in our blood. They alter our physical state of being and provide reactions to reward positive and hinder threat situations.
Feelings are mental responses to our emotions. Feelings are generated in our memory banks according to our memories, personal experiences and belief systems. A feeling assigns meaning to an emotion.
Now that we have a clear understanding of emotions vs feelings we are better equipped to go forward and try and break this constant cycle of madness we consistently find ourselves in.
I am going to create a scenario for you guys now. Let’s say you have a very close family member that is especially toxic to be around. This person is the definition of a negative Nelly. They have nothing good to say about anyone they come in contact with, they are never happy no matter how much you do for them and constantly lie or exaggerate in order to win sympathy and attention.
Behind closed doors, this person is always rude to you and treats you disrespectfully when others are not around but is as nice as the sun shining whenever someone else is there with you. When you are not around, they constantly complain about you, make up stories to others or like I said above, exaggerate the truth to shine a light on how wonderful THEY are at having put up with you.
Of course, you get defensive which is an emotional response. It affects your physical being and sparks a reaction out of you. Now comes the anger, the feelings side of it. A proper statement, in this case, would be, “I am physically defensive and reactive towards your actions which makes me feel angry right now.” The question then becomes, how do I deal with the physical and mental consequences of this situation?
Acceptance and knowing are key to processing and removing our negative responses and preventing any negative feelings over any given situation. I believe mindfulness is the term widely used nowadays to describe this. So what am I getting at here? Let me lay it out for you…
We cannot control the actions of others period.
I left the above statement on its own line and underlined it on purpose here. I am giving it a higher value in this article than any other line. The lesson I hope you take away from it is that we need to do the same with ourselves. We need to be mindful of our emotions vs our feelings, and our actions vs responses. Our focus needs to be not on what someone else did to cause this turmoil within us but WHY we have this turmoil and what to do with it in order to release it and let it fly away into the great beyond.
I started out this article stating it was a rant and confusion encrusted kind of day. I then when into how I did not understand why we as humans always want things, complain when we get them, and realize it is not what we really wanted. Next, I turned it into the difference between emotion vs feelings. You see, these are all linked. They are our emotional being or physical reactions to life which causes the feelings to come flooding out. It is why we do what we do when we do it. It is the cause of our constant desires and wants and the issue behind our fickle nature.
If we can learn some form of emotional regulation, we would all be much happier in life, therefore, complain less.