In my experience, there are two types of complaining: good and bad.
Good complaining is the type that happens when something is not right and the complaint is properly directed. For example, if a building or store is not accessible, then complaining to the building manager is a great thing to do. Complaining to a property owner when there aren’t enough accessible parking spaces is great too. Basically any legitimate complaint that’s directed to people who can make things right is a good complaint.
Bad complaining goes like this: “Oh I am so weak all the time…boo hoo.” or “Poor me, I have to use this wheelchair.” Of course the “boo hoo” and “poor me” are usually not said by the complainer but might as well be. This sort of complaint does nobody any good, especially the person saying it. It reinforces a negative attitude, a victim mentality, and results in further frustration. Besides that, others hate hearing it all the time. It drives caregivers nuts and will cost you friends and sometimes family.
There’s also fine line between good complaining and bad complaining. For example, if you find yourself constantly saying, “That restaurant really needs a ramp! I hate that!” but never actually submit your complaint to the restaurant, then that’s a bad complaint. Personally, I am sometimes guilty of this sort of complaint myself. It’s easy to complain but sometimes the effort to complain to someone who can make a difference seems like too much work even though it’s not usually that difficult.
The best way to stop yourself from making bad complaints is exactly that — STOP YOURSELF! When you hear yourself making a bad complaint, whether it’s a “Woe is me” or an undirected type of complaint, then take a moment to reflect on what you just said. Rephrase your self-pity to something more positive like “I’m so tired but I am going to go do this anyway!” or decide to take action on your complaint. It also helps to notice when other people complain. This can help you identify your own complaints better as well.
It doesn’t take as much time as you think to direct an undirected complaint. If you think a building should have a ramp call/write/email both the business itself AND the property owner/manager if you can figure that out. A quick email or call can take just a few minutes. Tip: In the past, I have searched my local property tax records (sometimes available online by county/city) to find building owners. You can also look for “Now Leasing” signs on other units if it’s a strip mall or office building and that’s usually the owner or property manager’s information.
Nobody likes a complainer, but if your complaint can make a positive difference then take action and complain all you want to the right people.