by Frances J. Harvey, Director of Operations Turning Point Counseling
Have you ever been in a situation that made you get in someone’s face, scream at the top of your lungs and complain how unfair or wrong it was and let it been known
“You are upset”?
I am almost positive that at some point everyone has had
that experience. I want to share some great tools on “how
to handle” complaining in a positive way and get something accomplished as well.
Recently I was visiting my mom and she receives a Christian magazine which always has great articles that you can apply to everyday life. So I sat with her on the couch and she asked me to read to her (she is 90 years old and her eyesight isn’t all that great any more). I was looking through the magazine and came across an article by Barbara Neal Varma titled Positively Complaining and it caught my eye.
As I read, I thought about how Christ handled His anger. It’s not that we shouldn’t “be” angry, it’s “how” we handle it that matters. In the book of James it tells us
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20, NASB
In other words, BEFORE we go off screaming like a banchi and making a scene about what we are mad or upset over, we need to FIRST spend some time in prayer and seek what God would have us do. He clearly tells us in His Word how to act…
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon and you will be pardoned. Give and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure -- pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return. Luke 6:36-38 (NASB)
Our “attitude” can make or break the deal. We are called to be Light and Christ like and that means EVEN when we are upset, mad, hurt or disappointed. He never tells us NOT to handle a situation - on the contrary, but He DOES stipulate on “how” we must handle it. As I mentioned, Varma’s article caught my eye. I want to share 4 points from her article that you can use next time you face dealing with a complaint…
Positively Complaining - 4 Ways to Say What You Need to Say by Barbara Neal Varma
Pass On the Whine
As with most things in life, strategy, and motivation are key. Use complaints, the experts say, to make something right, not tear something—or someone—down. “It’s a difficult balance,” Kowalski admits, “but if you can manage to raise your concerns without crossing over into whining, your words will be better received and attended to.”
Technique counts. The words you choose when presenting your complaint can be just as important as the delivery, especially if the goal is not simply to get something off your chest but to right a perceived wrong. Kowalski advises, “Express your dissatisfaction in a way that is non-threatening yet strategic, and you’re more likely to get what you’re going for.”
Seek Out Those in Authority
1 Peter 1:13 reminds us that in this life, we are to prepare our minds for action.
Communication experts agree that for best results, you need to be strategic when voicing your concerns. You need to know exactly…
· what you’re complaining about
· what you want to see happen
· who can help you achieve that outcome
Kowalski notes that while it’s true the number one reason we complain is to vent, people with legitimate objections would do well to be more selective with their audience. “If you want to solve a problem,” she says, “then go to someone who can offer more than just a sympathetic shoulder to cry on.”
Social scientists say that if you want to play the complaint game and be a serious contender—one your audience will consider credible, confident, and ultimately right—then do so with courage. Although every situation is not comparable to the war Joshua faced, we can apply God’s advice for him to our own situations:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:9 niv).
Despite that timeless wisdom, complaint studies show most folks will avoid openly dicey dialogue, approaching instead a person they know will not cause a scene—in other words, someone who is not the offender or even involved in the offense but who knows enough about the situation to offer cozy commiseration. That’s all well and good if you simply want to bend someone’s ear, researchers say.
But if you want to change the world (or defend your mommy), you’re better off running the risk of conflict than losing the opportunity to speak out for a common good.
Be of Good Cheer
Professor Kowalski, also a wife and mom, says taking a stand requires balance. “Remember to pick your audience for both what they can offer you—sympathy, empathy—and what they can do for you in the end. Be cheerful. If you can learn to express your dissatisfaction in a way that is positive, you’re likely to get more of what you’re going for.”
And as Zechariah 8:16 (NIV) says, “These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts.”
You can read her FULL article by click on this link:
So next time, remember…
1. Pass – Ask God to help you with your anger – Pass on the Whine
2. Seek – Ask God to help you go to the right person - Seek Out Those in Authority
3. Courage – Ask God to give you the courage to speak about the problem - Take Courage
4. Cheer – Ask God to give you a cheerful heart - Be of Good Cheer
The bottom line is that we do want to accomplish a good outcome by our complaint right? In order to make that happen we must first be heard.
Someone once told me “a flower grows when you water it, care for it, and make sure it’s exposed to the sun”… Make sense to me!
If you are struggling with anger or emotional conflicts or know someone who is and would like to schedule an appointment, contact us by call 800-99-TODAY or 800-998-6329. We have over 40 locations throughout so California.
You can also visit us at www.TurningPointCounseling.org
The material contained in this newsletter has been prepared by an independent third-party provider. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, there is no guarantee it is not without errors.
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