Saturday, November 28, 2015

Complaint Free Relationships by Will Bowen

Complaint Free Relationships is a follow-up to Will Bowen’s previous book, A Complaint Free World. The fundamental premise of the first book carries over to the second. Our thoughts create our lives. Our words are indicators of our thoughts. When we become aware of complaining, and the negative thinking it represents, we can choose to think more positively and gain happier results.

Bowen notes that one of the most common things people complain about is relationships. He focuses on the “relate” in relationship. To a great extent our relationships are the stories we tell ourselves about other people. When we complain about someone, aloud or in our minds, we are telling ourselves a story about that person’s behaviors of features that we dislike, and usually ascribe to them negative motivations and traits.

In addition, Bowen says people can pick up the negativity of our internal stories and will generally respond in kind. If you expect the worst of people, you’ll usually get it, and they’ll have a negative view of you, too.

You can reverse this by telling yourself a different story. Have compassion. Don’t leap to conclusions about someone’s motives or personality. Tell yourself a story that is compassionate, understanding, and positive. People will sense this as well, and will respond positively.

Of course, we can’t always change are minds with the snap of a finger. In some cases we must deal with truly difficult people. Sometime we are troubled by ingrained problems of our own.

Bowen offers advice for dealing with these tougher cases. We can understand our own, or others, motivations to complain and deal with them. We can take responsibility to see that our needs are met instead of complaining about our frustrations. Instead of venting our anger (it only makes us angrier), we can undertake to process our emotions. Many of these techniques can be adapted to improving the relationship we have without ourselves, which affects all our relationships.

Complaining is particularly damaging to relationships. Research sited by Bowen demonstrates that complaining is a major cause of the failure of relationships. You don’t have to live with bad relationships or watch them fall apart. If you’re willing to change your perspective and take on the challenges of personal growth, you can see you relationships improve, and even become sources of fun and joy.

Will Bowen also wrote A Complaint Free World. If you’re interested in this book, you may also be interested in

Bowen, Will. Complaint Free Relationships: How to Positively Transform Your Personal, and Love Relationships. New York: Doubleday, 2009.