I saw an article on brain changes in folks who listen to complaints, so thought I would explore it a bit here.

Own complaints

When I complain, I usually do it intentionally and to people who have The Work. I may ask them to make a note of beliefs they notice, or also write them down myself. I sometimes also complain to non-TW folks, usually briefly, and make a mental note of the beliefs that come up.

My own complaints are a gift. They show me what’s left. They show me which thoughts I still – innocently – take as true.

Other’s complaints

When I tell myself someone else complains, I again get to see what’s left for me.

I get to see my own beliefs about them, about me in relation to them, and about the stories they share with me.

If I believe these thoughts, I’ll experience stress. (And, as the article points out, this is inevitably reflected in my body, including my brain function and structure.)

As I find more clarity on these stories, I am more free to act with kindness and wisdom, and it’s stress free. I may chose to listen, perhaps with genuine gratitude and appreciation for this person sharing his or her life with me. I may use it as an opportunity for identifying own beliefs and inquire into them. I may chose to respond, perhaps asking what I can do that would feel good or help (and I am free to say yes or no to whatever they suggest). I may choose to leave. And to the extent I am clear on my own stories, it’s stress free and kind.

What the articles points out, and a slightly fuller picture

So the article does point out something important: Listening to complaints influences the brain, sometimes.

What it leaves out is equally important: When I tell myself someone is complaining, and I believe my own stories about it, it creates stress, and this is reflected in my body. I do it to myself through taking my own stories as true. And, I assume, the effects are the same whether I listen to my own complaints or someone else’s. Also, as I find clarity to my own thoughts, it’s stress free. (And that too is reflected in my life. In how I live my life, and in my view, emotions, and body – including brain function and structure.)

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I have found out that I can no longer complain and get away with it.. you know.. I noticed that I complain in order to connect with people.. in order to fit in… to get attention.. in order to relate..and there is a stickyness when I do this… more and more and more.. I simply share the bliss I am in..without holding back and without the cover/lie/manipulation of complaining.. I can live my life in happiness without explanation.. and I invite you into this experience.
– S.Z. – an inquiry friend – on Facebook



Complaining helps me identify beliefs for inquiry, and, seen this way, it’s a friend.

I sometimes intentionally complain for a bit so I can see what’s there, especially if the beliefs seem a bit elusive at first.

And I usually do it with someone familiar with The Work so they don’t take the stories very seriously.