Complaining is a mostly useless exercise. If we put even half of the amount of energy we use to complain into forward motion to resolve the issue we are upset about, we would soon eliminate the problem we are bitching about.
People rarely want to do anything proactive. They prefer to moan about what bothers them and whip other like-minded people into a frenzy so they have moral support for their complaint. I would like to start an anti-complaining movement, similar to the anti-bullying campaign, where bystanders are urged to get involved and stop the complainers in their tracks.
The internet in general and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter specifically have taken complaining to a whole new level. Now you don't need to complain to just one person about someone or something that bugs you, with only a few keystrokes you can spread the word to a lot of people and hope they rally around and agree with you.
Web-based complaining is a dangerous epidemic. It feeds negativity on an endless loop and offers it a huge platform. People who might not have been concerned about a situation before can easily be drawn in by the one-sided appeal they read on Facebook.
Most of the time no one bothers to get the complete story or talk to the people in charge of any group or activity, they just read the complaint and pass it on with their own personal spin until the truth resembles the ending of the old children's party game Telephone.
Complaining inspires no one. It only provides a collective lowering of the spirit. Action is everything. When something or someone gets under your skin, create an action plan. Form a committee, write an email to the person in charge, brainstorm a possible solution and start taking steps to implement it. Become a force for positive change, not a soul-sucking vortex of negative energy.
We all have a choice every single day. Are we going to do something to make the world better or worse? Talk is so cheap. If you have no intention of lifting a finger to do anything, saying nothing serves the world much more than complaining loudly about what you see as a problem. You are the solution to the thing that bothers you. Start funnelling all of your complaining into some form of action to make life better for a group of people.
You might think that no one notices that you complain a lot, but you are wrong. I used to bitch about everything and everyone and most people in my circle did exactly the same thing, but I don't socialize with those people anymore. I decided to change myself and put my energy into doing something for social justice, and now I am shocked and disturbed by all of the negativity I see and hear in the world.
When we are confronted by complaining with no action plan presented alongside it, we need to ask the person what they plan to do about it. Put the responsibility back on the person stirring up all of the negativity. Nine times out of ten they will fold up under the pressure and go away, only to emerge in another form with a new variety of the same complaint. Ask them politely again what they are going to do to solve the problem they have identified.
As a culture, we are functioning under a victim mentality, where we want someone else to do the heavy lifting and then we point out all of the things they are doing wrong. I've had a book in my head for about a year now called It's On You. Each of us is responsible to do something to offer up solutions to the problems we complain about. The key is to stop talking about it and get doing something practical.
If it fails, at least you tried. Even stopping the naysayers and the complainers by gently pointing out their negative behaviour is still doing something. Today, plan to do something real and lasting for someone else, even if it's only to stop complaining about all of the problems that you see in the world with no ideas on how to fix them.