VALOIRE BURTON: Is It Time To Stop Complaining And Solve The Problem?

By Valorie Burton

Dear Friend,

“Do all things without grumbling, faultfinding, and complaining.” – Philippians 2:14

Dear Friend,

What do you find yourself complaining about in your day-to-day life? A moody client, boss, or employee? Messy spouse? Clutter? Poor service? When it comes to learning and growing, a useful tool for making meaningful changes can be your own complaints. After all, the things that you complain about are the things that, if changed, have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of your life.In a world sometimes filled with negativity and complaining, it can be tempting at times to complain for the sake of complaining. Instead, use your complaints about your life as an opportunity to improve your life. Ask, “What could be done about it? What request or change could I make to eliminate this complaint from my life?” If your complaint is bad traffic for example, you may simply have to make a decision to quit complaining about it. Make a decision to relax in traffic, accept it as a part of your day, and find a constructive way to use your drive time – like listening to relaxing music, books or tapes, or catching up with friends or family (on your hands-free phone of course!). I have found that complaining without taking action to do something about it is very disempowering. When you stop having problems and start solving them, your life becomes more productive, joyful, and powerful.

This week, I challenge you to notice the message that your complaints are sending you. Complaints often indicate that an expectation or need is not being met. Complaints continue to plague you when you do not make requests of others to change or do not challenge yourself to make changes that will turn the problem around.


This week, I challenge you to make a list of ten complaints in your life (or more, if you have them!). Your “complaints” are things that just are not going as you would like to see them. From the friend who drains your energy with negativity, to the client or boss with unrealistic or unfair expectations, to the computer that is on its last leg, make a list of everything that drains your energy, unsettles or annoys you, or detracts from your quality of life.


What requests could you make to address each complaint? Even if your complaint seems beyond your control to change, write it down anyway. If you have a complaint you feel at a loss to resolve, you can always take it directly to God in prayer. You may be surprised to see them resolved – sometimes even more quickly than the ones you feel you have more control over. Keep in mind that some of your requests will be of yourself. You may need to challenge yourself to do something differently in a particular area of your life, or to take a specific action to resolve the problem.


Asking for what you want is one of the keys to success. Often change is nothing more than a conversation away. (For step-by-step instructions on the best way to succeed at asking for what you want, read the chapter on this subject in What’s Really Holding You Back?)Have you been clear about your expectations? Have you voiced your dissatisfaction and requested a specific change or solution? Until you do, you may find yourself stuck with the same complaints indefinitely. Tired of a neighbor, co-worker, or someone crossing your boundaries? Speak up! Ask them to make a specific change. You can simply say, “What you are doing is causing me a problem. Would you please not do that anymore?” You may have to practice your words before you say them if you are “shy” about speaking up for yourself, but whatever it takes, take action by verbalizing specific requests.

My Challenge to you this week

This week, stop complaining and become proactive about resolving the things that cause you problems. Write down your list of complaints, and begin with your biggest one. Then create a solution and move forward with implementing it!

Journaling assignment:

What is the payoff I get when I complain rather than taking steps to fix the problem? What will it take for me to make a shift to being proactive?

Until next time …

Valorie Burton, a life coach and speaker, is the author of Listen to Your Life, Rich Minds, Rich Rewards, What’s Really Holding You Back?, Why Not You? and her latest, How Did I Get So Busy? The 28-Day Plan to Free Your Time, Reclaim Your Schedule and Reconnect with What Matters Most. Subscribe to her FREE, inspirational e-newsletter at