We blame things outside ourselves to protect our self-esteem but it doesn't help much in the long term. It's a natural defence mechanism to take the heat off of ourselves. Hence why we are so good at coming up with excuses, blaming circumstances or other people for letting us down.
Finding fault is easier than accepting the responsibility ourselves. Research has shown that we attribute our own successes to our superior abilities and our setbacks to bad luck while attributing the successes of others to good luck and their failures to a lack of ability! Talk about double standards!
- Some people do more than their share of finding fault with all kinds of things around them.
- They do so only partly because things are not so great around them. But the main reason is that they are unhappy within themselves.
- Research has shown that people who are bored with working in a factory, complain about poor working conditions, a noisy environment, a cold workplace, poor lighting and numerous other things that are bugging them about where they work.
- These same people, however, don't mind getting dirty working on their cars or in their gardens or working in poor light or nasty weather on their pet projects. They might even work long hours or forget to take a break.
- Why the difference? Because they feel such a strong sense of personal satisfaction when doing their hobbies that they overlook the negatives which are insignificant by comparison to the sense of achievement and personal worth they get from doing something that is meaningful to them.
- By contrast, at work, they may be just getting paid to do work that doesn't interest them. But the odd thing is that we complain about the small stuff rather than say that we feel undervalued or uninterested in our work.
- So, if you find yourself complaining a lot about small things, ask yourself what deeper reason is there that might explain why you are unhappy.
- See what you can do about that. Can you change your focus so that you spend more time doing the things you like doing? Try to focus more on making other people happy. That is easy to do and it achieves two other things: it can give you a better sense of self-worth and, secondly, it can get your mind off yourself for a while.
- Another techique to try - when you find yourself saying negative things about anything, force yourself to think of an equally long list of positives. Saying only negative things about something is a way of convincing ourselves that we are right, so trying to think of positives is a way of trying to develop a more balanced perspective.
- Research has shown that excessively negative people are at risk of poor health because of an overly negative outlook.
- Complaining excessively is like going on your holiday of a lifetime and spoiling it by finding fault with small inconveniences. So, we mainly hurt ourselves by being overly negative and fault-finding.