Don't Engage in What You Complain About

I hear people complain all the time about problems they are actively engaged in. "I hate how my boss calls me late in the evening,” or “ugh, I wish my husband didn’t expect me to cook every night.”

My question back is always,“Do you answer, or Do you cook every night?” To which they usually respond, “well, yea but if I didn’t then (insert some consequence here)." Okay, or they would figure something else out. It would probably only take a few times of not picking up after work hours for your boss to stop reaching out. Surely your husband wouldn't die of starvation if you failed to make dinner a few nights.

We teach people how to treat us. Relationships are contracts where you both have unwritten roles and responsibilities, how you treat each other, what you get from each other and what you give. Through good intentions you may have entered into an agreement where the expectations of you are a bit more and the benefits are a bit less. This is okay and a good realization to make, but it isn’t the other person’s fault. It’s not that they take advantage, it’s that you let them.

Listen, if my husband gives me a foot massage every night am I taking advantage of him by letting him? You solidify the unbalanced agreement each and every time you engage in the action you dread.

Rather than build resentment, BUILD BOUNDARIES. If you want to avoid the temporary discomfort of drastically changing the agreement, than you can have a direct conversation about rewriting the agreement, but our behavior is most important. You can just change your behavior, drop the resentment, and stop complaining about problems that you actively engage in.

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