Yes, things would be better if you stopped worrying about stuff you didn’t control. And, yes, things would also be better if you stopped complaining. But, a blanket ban isn’t a recipe for better self talk. If anything, it only makes things worse.
Asking yourself to stop complaining or to stop worrying today is futile. If you are in the habit of worrying, it will be several weeks or months before you learn to break that habit. A blanket ban is just a frustration creator. As you get more frustrated, the self talk will get worse. And, at some point, you’ll label yourself incapable and move on to the next futile quest.
A better question, then, is to just make it a habit to ask – “Is this worth it?” If you are worrying about something you really shouldn’t be wasting energy on, the question – “Is worrying about this worth it?” – should prompt you to re-examine your approach to solving the problem. Of course, worrying or complaining isn’t an approach that helps solve any problem. If anything, they cripple your defenses. But, that’s the sort of logic that’s beside the point when you are worrying (or complaining).
Trevor Noah, on the Daily Show, nicely shared that you can’t win an argument with a toddler on facts. They’ll just make up ridiculous facts. You win arguments by asking the toddler to elaborate. By asking questions and opening a dialog, the toddler soon realizes that what he/she is saying makes little sense.
In debating with our emotional side, we are engaging with our inner toddler. So, by asking “Is this worth it?,” we open a dialog with ourselves. This isn’t about solving the problem. It is about asking the question and making progress.
Bit by bit and question by question is how great things are done.