The curious case of complaining

Photo credit: Ryan McGuire

In one hand I have the absolute best pizza slice, handmade in Sicily by the godfather of Italian pizza. In my other hand, I have an old, rotten sandwich with something in the middle that looks a bit like cheese. Which hand would you pick? Unless you have some weird fetish for rotten food, the answer is obvious.

Then why, when it comes to thoughts, do we choose to pick the rotten sandwich? How come we feed the mind stinky, rotten sandwiches, while at the same time there’s so much better food for thought? We choose to talk about negative things when we engage in a conversation. In the winter it’s too cold and in the summer it’s too hot. We choose the downside over the upside. Why do we do the things we don’t like, read things that don’t appeal to us, be in conversations that don’t touch us?

Do you even realize how much good music, catered to your personal taste there is? The amount is pretty much infinite. You can watch movies nonstop for the rest of your life that glue you to the edge of your seat. The amount of awesome books is so big you won’t be able to read them in a lifetime. You can tingle your tastebuds daily for the rest of your life and find new stuff to eat every day.

Let this sink in for a minute. You can enjoy the rest of your life with a constant flow of new and amazing things. But, you choose the complainers route. You choose to watch the same lame tv show, eat the same crap food, listen to the same boring music.

So, the question that comes to mind is; are we doing these things because life is really all that bad, or are we doing these things so we can complain at every chance we get? Are we addicted to complaining, and if so, why?

More on this later on.


One day, a long time ago, a man walked for weeks to visit Buddha. When he finally reached Buddha, he was sitting peacefully in his garden. The man walked all this way, not for advice, but to insult Buddha. He started swearing and shouting all kinds of insults, but Buddha didn’t move a muscle.

After he finished his tyranny the man stopped and asked Buddha why he didn’t respond. Buddha kindly said, “If I don’t accept your insults, to who do they belong”? And Buddha returned to his blissful state of peace and happiness, while the man stood there ashamed and confused.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, being offended is a choice. Lately, it seems as if entire populations are offended by all sorts of silly details. It seems as if the goal isn’t to raise awareness for a certain topic, but the goal is just to be offended, to place oneself in a victim role and to complain about how the world is doing them wrong.

There’s a big difference between standing for what you believe in and fighting for your cause or being offended. Fighting for your cause is standing your ground for your values, your heritage, your tribe. Being offended is rooted in feeling unworthy.

Being offended is being completely out of touch with yourself. If you are authentically centered and at peace with who you are why would you be offended? Nowadays, being offended is even a shortcut to your 15 seconds of fame. Being offended opens a doorway to bitch and moan 24/7 and be the center of attention. It opens the doorway to talk about all the people that are doing you wrong. It gives you the stage to tell the world why it stinks.


“But there’s so much bad stuff going on in the world,” you say. There is. There’s also a lot of amazing stuff going on. Complaining about the bad stuff won’t change anything. Change happens through actions, not through complaints. If you want to change some bad shit, like the ridiculous amount of plastic in the sea, you have to do some amazing shit, like actually cleaning it.

Complaining never inspires someone else to take action. A cause set in motion and results do. It takes just one dancing guy to change a hillside with people being bored into the party of the century. If it wasn’t for that one guy everyone would complain about how boring the party was. Complaining is easy. It doesn’t take creativity, no courage, it’s safe.

When you spend a moment complaining, it is a moment where you don’t have to take responsibility. If you never want to take responsibility, creating a flow of constant complaining is a good strategy. By keeping the focus on everything that sucks, maybe it goes unnoticed that you are actually the one that sucks.

Maybe, if we keep complaining about all that is wrong in the world, the world won’t realize that we are the ones that are wrong. Or maybe, just maybe, if we never shut up and just keep complaining, there won’t be a moment of self-awareness in which we will realize ourselves that we are wrong. That the smell doesn’t come from the outside, but from the shit on the inside.

So, to take it back to the beginning of this article; is complaining addictive? If you ask me the answer would be yes. Complaining is a worldwide epidemic of looking at what’s wrong in the world so the people complaining won’t have to suffer the silence in which they will realize they are what’s wrong.

And that’s why the news is so popular, that’s why reality shows are such a hit. And that’s why we like to gossip so much. If you’re not able to fix your own shit and raise your vibe, the only reasonable solution is dragging everything else down just to level the playing field. Instead of becoming the best version of yourself, you settle for being just alright in a world where everyone else is an asshole.

People love reality shows, so they can feel good about themselves. “Hey, at least my life isn’t such a shit show as that family on Dr. Phil”. People love to gossip about other people, so they can feel better about themselves. The hot soccer mom messed up somewhere along the lines, and now all the jealous moms feel better about themselves. Not because the hot soccer mom showed her true colors but because the jealous moms now have a lower status quo to abide by.


If complaining feels so good and everyone enjoys it why such a fuzz? Because it’s a trap. Your mind literally adjusts to the constant complaining. The neuro-pathways in your brain create a route that goes from Loserville to Complain Capital and back again, over and over again.

You’ve created a habit out of complaining. The habit is so strong that now it’s an addiction. All the mind knows is complaining. No matter where you look your mind will find something to complain about. It’s hardwired to do so.

We’ve all heard about the placebo effect; A fake treatment that causes real results. Test group A gets the actual pill with the medicine for an illness, test group B gets the sugar pill. Both groups are told that this pill is the absolute cure for the illness. After the testing period, both the A and B group are cured of the illness. What the hell just happened?

What just happened is the power of the mind. The power of the mind is so strong that it can be the cure, and rightfully so, it can be the cause. The placebo and his evil twin the nocebo effect are a real thing. Turns out, the brain is so powerful it can actually cure illness with positive thinking. And obviously, you can create an illness by negative thinking.

So, paradoxically, someone who is always complaining that things should be better creates a reality that is even more negative. Someone who is in constant fear of getting an illness ends up getting the illness. We create a self-fulfilling prophecy. That’s why affirmations and prayer are so powerful. You program the mind into believing in something so strong, that it eventually turns into a reality. It becomes a cause set in motion.

There are cases of people who had such strong brain capabilities they could cure themselves of terminal illnesses. This is not some alternative medicine woo-woo thing, this is backed by hard science.

Wim Hof holds more than 26 world records for doing superhuman things which seemed scientifically impossible, like climbing the Mount Everest in nothing but shorts. All, through the power of the mind. He even trained 12 people to beat the E-Coli bacteria injected into them through the power of breathing and mindset. Normally you would be sick like a dog, but they all managed to walk out of there without any flu-like symptoms.

Back in the 1940’s, when a tiny angry Austrian had a crazy masterplan for Germany, one of the prisoners in Auschwitz was Viktor Frankl. While being in that horrible place, he studied peoples behaviors and result of their mindset. Turns out that when a person has something to look forward to, like a family that’s waiting for them, they can endure the hardest times. They had a purpose, something to stay alive for, and so they did. But, when they lost that purpose, for example when they received the message that their family died, they would often be dead within a week.

This should give you a good idea of the power of the mind. The mind is a powerful tool with amazing capabilities. So, what happens when you use that powerful tool for something with such a low vibe as complaining? You create a mind and a reality that is filled with things to complain about and end up in a vicious cycle. And, what happens when the majority of the people choose the path of complaining?


Complaining is a choice, and you are free to choose whatever you want. But, why choose to complain when you can choose to be grateful? Why choose the rotten sandwich when the pizza slice is within reach. Why focus on the bad, when you can focus on the good? Why watch the news when you can paint with your child? Why focus on the mess on the other side of the world when you can clean your own street? Why be down when you can be up? Just. Fucking. Why?

The thing is this: life can be heaven or hell, you choose. You can either feed the bad wolf or feed the good wolf. You can go through life complaining that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence or you can spend that time nourishing your own grass and even plant some flowers.

Will we keep complaining collectively, focussing on the shit on the outside, while the shit on the inside of all of us is festering, or will we raise awareness and raise the collective vibe? Will we use this powerful machine we have called the brain to complain or to create? The choice is ours. Well, even better, the choice is yours individually. And if enough people will choose to create positive vibes, the scale will eventually tilt.

So, the next time when it rains will you complain about it being wet, or will you dance in the rain?

Wow, you made it until the end! That probably means you enjoyed this article. If you did, claps would be really appreciated.

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I write to put things in context for myself and like to believe I figured it out: don’t change the world, change yourself. More on:

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Dennis Stoelwinder

Dennis Stoelwinder

I write to put things in context for myself and like to believe I figured it out: don’t change the world, change yourself. More on:

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