When we are communicating honestly, we are expressing our feelings, needs, wants. We aren’t wanting to burden another person, we just want to share without inauthenticity. We aren’t asking for the other person to take on our burden or issue for themselves. We are open to listening and engaging. We are being authentic in our communication. Being honest isn’t all about us. We think about others. Many times, being honest is helpful and insightful.
The difference between being honest and complaining
When we are complaining, we’re releasing negative energy, many times without filter or consideration. We aren’t necessarily wanting to do what it takes to change the situation. We just want to vent/spew. There’s more of a one-sided approach. Behind the complaint there’s a negative emotion. Complaining is usually all about me. Not necessarily taking into consideration how my communicating is impacting those around me or that to which I’m complaining. Most times, complaining doesn’t help us. Many of us have become comfortable in complaining, but it’s not helping us grow.
Some steps we can take to be honest without the negativity.
1) Recognize your pattern of complaining. Pay attention to how others engage with you when you are complaining versus being honest.
2) Hold your tongue. If you’re in a habit of complaining, it will take some self-awareness to pull you out.
3) Replace complaining/accusing with being honest and offer solutions (if necessary)- You can share your thoughts and feelings on an issue, topic, situation without coming across as a “Debbie Downer.” Re-word your communication. For example: Instead of saying to your co-worker- “I really hate it when Stan drinks all of the coffee in the morning.” You could say – “I’m bummed when there’s no coffee left for me in the morning. I wonder if we could buy an extra coffee maker?”
4) Offer gratitude and praise instead of negativity and toxic energy- See the good instead of the bad. Point out the positives.
My philosophy for a happy life | Sam Berns | TEDxMidAtlantic