Home health and wellness tips Stop Complaining. Now.

Stop Complaining. Now.

by Vidya Sury November 21, 2013 34 comments
Vidya Sury Stop Complaining 2

On November 1, I decided to stop complaining. Going complaint-free? Yes! I thought, hey, here’s something I can ace with ease.

So when Farnoosh Brock added me to her complaint-free Facebook Group I was excited.

After all,  it is human to complain. But when we’re conscious about not complaining, it is rather simple, right?


It is harder than that.

A habit of a lifetime does not change overnight.

Yet, we can start working on it and if we’re determined enough, actually go complaint-free.

And I stopped complaining

Or trying my darnedest to! Being conscious is half the battle.

After a couple of weeks of committed practice, I was pleased to see I actually could stay complaint free. And I thought, I really must share it with you. I wrote the title for the post and scheduled it for publishing today.

So fancy my stunned surprise when I saw Farnoosh had beaten me to it with a solid gold winner of a post here Can’t Stop Complaining? 10 Ways You Forget to Channel the Energy. I read it. I enjoyed it. I even jokingly told her I am going to swipe it and post it here. Not.

But yes, I do want to talk about how glorious it is to be complaint-free.

Stop complaining Vidya Sury

It always helps to think of what IS rather than what is NOT. I’ve made a habit of this over the past seven years, ever since my Mother began having severe health problems. The result was amazing. I realized I smiled more and was more stress-free.

Here’s my trick

So today, when something doesn’t go the way I expect, I quickly take a sheet of paper (my favorite-est method), draw a vertical line. On the left, I list the Debits and on the right, the Credits. I always find the credits far outweigh the left column.

Another thing I’ve noticed, to my happy surprise is.. when I think of Debits, I think of the immediate present and very recent past. With Credits, I look at the big picture, and so, there are bigger things to feel happy about – long term things. Am I making sense? Of course I am!

So – a couple of weeks ago, when I packed my son’s lunch, he came and said, “Mi, yesterday you forgot to put a spoon in my bag and it was…..” I looked at him and grinned… and he continued, “I found it was interesting to eat with my hand for a change”. I love that kid! What’s more, he’s trying to convert his friends.

Not always faithful though.

The next day when I asked him if he had complaints and confidently expected him to say “no”, he just laughed and said, “Of course. Complaining feels good and it is fun. it is a great way to vent.” Then he looked at my obvious disappointment and said, “But the trick to not sounding whiny is to vent and move on”.

I was happy again. Vent and move on was good. I asked if he could not try to see the good side before venting, he said he certainly would.

Hmmm. Not bad, I am thinking.

No complaining is not finding fault with all you see.

It is crazy how some people are happiest when they’re complaining or finding fault. I had an aunt like that. Never happy unless unhappy. Yeah, I know how that sounds (and we loved her anyway!). These people are never satisfied no matter how fine everything is. They revel in generating negative energy. They blame someone for everything that is wrong with their life and never stop complaining. It never even remotely occurs to them that they could possibly be responsible. And that is the most important thing when it comes to going complaint-free.

Vidya Sury Stop Complaining 4

Starting with Me, obviously

Improvement starts with self, almost always.  Wherever we live, wherever we work or play, we are the main constant in our lives. We just can’t get away from ourselves, right?  We have to start with the man in the mirror and ask him to change. (yes, I just love that song). Unless we bring change from within, our response to outside things will be less than perfect.

Years ago, when I met my friend Sibyl Chavis and visited her blog, the thing that impressed me most was her decision to give up complaining for 40 days. She said 40 days turned into 5 years and she’s never looked back since.

Here’s her insight about going complaint-free:

“One thing that has always been helpful to me is understanding what my complaint “triggers” are:  the things that in the past have caused me to complain, like work, feeling tired, the weather, money, etc. Once I realized what was triggering a lot of my complaining, I was on “high alert” and extra aware anytime one of those topics came up.

So, if you haven’t already done so, I would recommend taking a closer look at those times you feel tempted to complain. Are you usually doing something you dislike? Are you around a certain person? Are you tired? Make sure you know your complaint triggers and then choose to be very aware when these times arise.

Knowing our complaint triggers helps us avoid falling into the complaint trap time and time again.

Sibyl Smith Chavis Complaining Vidya Sury

Thank you Sibyl

(Scroll down this page on Sibyl’s blog to download a fabulous book titled Stop Complaining and Start Living that she’s generously offering for free)

Gratitude minimizes complaining

Being grateful no matter what is such a great way to live, because it lets us find joy in every little thing. It only takes a slight mind shift.

When life is stormy and turbulent, don’t complain. Don’t sit and wait for the storm to pass. Just go dance in the rain.

To sum up, here is how you benefit when you commit to go complaint-free

You also go


Pain-free (yes, it works!)



and become



more relaxed

more productive

more positive

more cheerful

more tolerant

more successful

and enjoy

increased self esteem

improved relationships

and feel

more affectionate towards your folks and friends

your outlook on life has changed

When you stop complaining, you feel lighter, you argue less and enjoy life more.

That is totally worth it, right?

Sure, but am I saying all complaining is bad?

No. I believe certain complaints that point to a positive outcome are important. Let’s ask ourselves, what do we want to achieve by complaining? Solve a problem?  Inform others about a situation so it won’t repeat itself again?  Excuse our own shortcomings?

So, please do go ahead and blow off steam, I say. Focus on your complaining but only to become aware of any unwanted negativity you are harboring.  Lose the negativity.  And then, laugh it off and move on!

So do you think you can commit to go complaint-free?

If yes, how do you intend doing it?

If not, why not?

Vidya Sury Stop Complaining 2

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Bhauvana November 21, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Fell in love with this blog! love every word in this post….i’v really been trying to be grateful and to stop complaining about friendship problems or school work and the stress of it all this week by writing gratitude lists, telling my parents i love them, although it never last long and i go back to my old ways…however after reading this i’m going to really make an effort tomorrow to not complain for 24 hours straight! it’s not going to be a piece of cake i can tell you now, but i’m excited to give it a go and enjoy every moment. Thanks Vidya! xoxo

Vidya Sury November 21, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Bhauvana, thank you – your words make me feel so thrilled I wrote this post! I completely understand that it can be tough to feel appreciative when things are really bad…but believe me it works. Good things invariably take extra effort. I know you’re going to overcome the block and emerge successful! Take baby steps. That’s the best, the happiest way! If it helps, keep a journal of the times you could have, but did not complain – I find that amazingly motivating!

Thanks again for your presence here today!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Are You An Early Riser?

Cathy Graham November 21, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Loved your post about complaining, Vidya. It has given me lots to think about. I try to be a positive person generally but have been known to have pity parties where the world looks bleak and I act like a victim. That’s when I get whiny and complain about things not going my way. Time to change that bad habit. I like how you say it is just that. A habit. We get well practiced in our ways of being and it takes work to change. It’s well worth it though. I will try and stop complaining and also to stop being affected by those who are complaining around me. I always give them the power to bring me down and I shouldn’t. Practicing gratitude and being positive are good steps towards stopping complaining. Great post!

Vidya Sury November 21, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Hugs, Cat! The trick is not to suddenly stop doing it (or there’s be withdrawal symptoms!) Just turn one complaint (or two) per day into appreciation. It grows on you and becomes a habit. Like my son says, complaining feels so good. The critical thing is to finish whining and move on. Getting stuck is the bad part. 🙂 I am so glad you came over. Life is more beautiful without complaints!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Gratitude, A Practice, A Habit

Jairam Mohan November 21, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Wow, that is such a beautiful post filled with so much positive energy. Completely agree with you when you say that instead of complaining and whining about things, we must explore options of seeing whether we can make a difference to the situation and if not, accept it as it is and move on.
Jairam Mohan recently posted…Moronic pinnacles

Vidya Sury November 21, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Thank you Jairam!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Blissed Out With Happiness

Proactive Indian November 21, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Great post!
Aspiring for improvement is natural. But, whining until the situation improves is a strict no-no.
Of course, this is easier said than done.
We must try to emulate the Gujaratis in this regard. When asked “Kem chcho?” (How are you?), the invariable answer is “Majaa maa! (Fine!)”
Proactive Indian recently posted…Is an apology a sign of weakness?

Vidya Sury November 21, 2013 at 7:08 pm

True! I didn’t have to look far for inspiration, Pro. My uncles always says “MASTH” when asked how they were doing…and now, I have an 80 year old neighbor who always says “First Class” whenever we ask her how she is. I love her attitude!

Whiny types need a kick up their a** 😀
Vidya Sury recently posted…Stop Complaining. Now.

Rahul November 21, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Vidya, I second everything to what said and yes if one cannot change the situation one must find ways to still find peace with one self:)

Fran Sorin November 21, 2013 at 7:42 pm


What a timely boost to become more mindful of complaining. It’s so easy to let some show up throughout the day and not even notice it~ Just being on the lookout for it and re-framing the complaint when it’s on the tip of your tongue is a wonderful skill ~ xxoo-Fran

Farnoosh November 21, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Beautiful! Funny! And so very awesome that you are now becoming the saint I always say you are, Vidya darling. Thank you for joining us and gracing us with your and your son’s beautiful humor and for leading us down a complaint-free journey. I am just following this amazing group ….. big hugs and smile to you for this!
Farnoosh recently posted…12 Things You Should Be Doing In Your First Waking Hour

Corinne Rodrigues November 21, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Isn’t is so wonderful when we start looking for blessings in every thing, we WILL find them. The lesser we complain, the less we have to complain about, no? 🙂
Enjoyed Vidur’s responses! And I quietly joined, Farnoosh’s group – see you there!
Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Radical Gratitude? : Living Gratitude Series

Alka November 21, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Honestly, I whine a lot. But I promise to take positive baby steps.
I am already smiling.
Alka recently posted…Nurturing Supermen: Minus the Cape

Emily November 21, 2013 at 10:09 pm

I love what your son said! Sometimes it’s appropriate to complain, but he’s absolutely right: vent and move on. Don’t get trapped in the negativity.

Great message!
Emily recently posted…A Thanksgiving Horror Story

Sean Cox November 22, 2013 at 12:49 am

Hi Vidya, I love this idea of not complaining. What a wonderful, but potentially difficult, challenge! And thank you for your debit/credit strategy (especially interesting is your insight on the timeframe)–very helpful!

kelly @kellynaturally November 22, 2013 at 2:11 am

Great advice. I tried this myself a couple (few?) years back… but it’s so easy to change back to complaint mode when you’re not feeling terrific or something doesn’t “go your way”. No day like today to try again!

Carolyn Hughes November 22, 2013 at 3:54 am

What a wonderfully positive approach you have to life Vidya. Like you I do try to have gratitude for what I have and not look at what I don’t have. Similarly I try to make the best out of a situation, but I’ve never gone so far as to make a commitment to not complain. But you have me convinced that I should try!
Carolyn Hughes recently posted…Travelling light.

Sandra Pawula November 22, 2013 at 6:12 am


I love your method of credits and debits, Vidya! Avoiding complaining all comes down to mindfulness and awareness in every moment. That’s a huge challenge, so I like to see this as a practice that I can perfect over time rather than a success or failure experience each day. I think it’s lovely to let go of complaining and I appreciate all the benefits you suggest.
Sandra Pawula recently posted…What Are You Willing to Do To Save Another Person’s Life?

Vishnu November 22, 2013 at 11:54 am

HI Vidya, enjoyed reading this post about the lack of complaints – this is bad news for psychologists, psychiatrists, lawyers and politicians. Can you imagine a society which doesn’t complain:)

I think I can commit to going complaint-free but not sure how much fun that would be. lol Complaining allows for conversation, drama, excitement, connection and interesting idle chatter. haha kidding, of course. Complaining usually gets us nowhwere and keeps us stuck. We do less when we complain more.

I’ve been trying to be more mindful of complaining. Instead of complaining when running in the rain this morning, I thought it was rather magical and spirited.

When my clothes got drenched, I thought I don’t have to wash them. lol thanks Vidya!

Rekha November 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm

As soon as I start reading your posts, a smile automatically appears on my face. Such is the power of your words. I just love them for the warmth and positive thoughts they bring in. 🙂 I do wish I’m able to go complain-free. Of course, my complaint box is one and only Mr.Right, who coolly sits listening to all the crap I have to offer and finally tell me that in Finland kids start basic education at the age of 7 or he says that diesel prices will be going up soon. 😀 And honestly, I just admire this trait of him. 🙂
Rekha recently posted…Are they responsible for our parenting needs?

gita November 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Sure great post I shall certainly start also write it out every time I feel like complaining or whining to see if there is a pattern in my behavior also see if I can do something about a given rather than complaining if its not in my control then just move Yes I sure will ry not to complaint yes it only brings nagativity

Betsy/Zen Mama November 22, 2013 at 6:01 pm

I gave up complaining for Lent one year when I was working at a Catholic school. And of course I never went back. I do find that when I do complain, it feels awful and I go back to the resolution I made so many years ago.
Thanks for this reminder Vidya! Always a pleasure to read your blog!
Betsy/Zen Mama recently posted…When You’re “Bent Out of Shape”, Try Yoga! (And A Chance to Win A Free Year of Yoga Online!)

richmiraclefiles November 22, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Hi Vidya
I believe complaining and learning are diametrically opposed.One who complains can never learn,so long as the complaining continues.One who is open to learning does not stop in his tracks to complain.complaining blocks a lot of useful energy.Energy that can be usefully directed to learning how to resolve issues.

Blaming and complaining is a weak man’s sport.It finds fulfillment in lower level energies;judging,criticising,comparing,denouncing, belittling, and conflict.
The best service any one can do to the world and themselves is to terminate complaining.Even for a little while,if you cant do it for good.Gradually you will make inroads into a better world called “appreciation”.

Cathy Taughinbaugh November 23, 2013 at 4:07 am

Great idea to go complaint free. When you change that mindset, it makes for a much more positive outlook. This is a great reminder. Thanks Vidya.
Cathy Taughinbaugh recently posted…How to Live Life Fully and Thrive: Meet Tess Marshall

Amit November 24, 2013 at 9:14 pm

I whine all the time. 🙁 But yes I will learn. I know there is so much more to life than complaining all the time.
Amit recently posted…Boiling Water – III

Seeta November 25, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Now, this post seriously taught me quite a bit… real good one Vidya! Will def. give it a try, esp. when P tries my patience 😉 (yep, you can ask him)
Btw, you have a super sweet, sensible and intelligent fellow for a son, you must be a proud mum 🙂

Martine Joseph November 25, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Vidya, I love how you have evoked the power of this decision: to stop complaining for 24 hours! You have given us abundant reasons to feel better and to be a Light in the world. Being a Light leads to more and more Light. What could be better than to create what we really want? – I am adding your blog to my Top 25 Blogs for Thriving Minds – You are truly an inspiration!
Martine Joseph recently posted…Top 25 Blogs for Thriving Minds

Shilpa Garg November 26, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Another inspiring post, Vidya. I have seen that when you practice the attitude of gratitude, your complaining goes down considerably. Thanks for giving so many pointers to think and act on 🙂
Shilpa Garg recently posted…Had I Looked Back

Li-ling November 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm

I loved this post Vidya! We have been living complaint free for a number of years now.

The first step to this was to learn to censor the words I spoke. It took a lot of discipline initially but as it became progressively easier to become aware of saying only things of value, it soon became clear that my mind and perceptions were beginning to be filled with the positive too.

As your wise son says, venting does have it’s place too – if only to destress, but it’s potentially most effective to state things matter of factly without the emotional attachment of a complaint and then as you so wisely say – Move on.

Well done you! I gets easier…truly.

Now my next challenge is to learn to be detached with the moans and complaints that i come across. 🙂
Li-ling recently posted…Why Choosing Again is… Just Like Counting

Jo Craven November 27, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Not complaining is definitely a normal human thing…and extremely hard to stop doing. Awesome that you even attempted to try stop. Most wouldn’t even bother, knowing they will fail. Sad, but true. Love the quote by Maya Angelou.
Jo Craven recently posted…Overcoming Anxiety – Don’t feed the monster

Ashima Sachdeva December 4, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I love each and every word you write! So real and true! I love dublewdublewdublewdotvidyasurydotcom 🙂

Vidya Sury December 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Ashima, you’re so cute and I love you too!

Ajith Prasad Edassery December 5, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Nice post Vidya – at least it would remind me to change
my attitude if not changing things around 🙂
Ajith Prasad Edassery recently posted…Telegram Service to Stop in India: Some Childhood Memories

Shaun Hoobler December 15, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Yes. Stop complaining and start doing something.
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