When we hang out with the Moan and Groan Society, as Susan coined it, we’re not being supported in our long-term goals. We’re helping to keep each other down, stuck in our comfort zones—even if we’re miserable. We may feel like we’re being supported and being supportive—because we’re listening while our friends unburden themselves, but what we’re doing is creating a negative feedback loop of misery. Unfortunately, our Lower Selves don’t need much encouragement to wallow in our problems. When we have a group of friends who only complain, never trying to make their lives better, it’s so much easier to stay in our comfortable space of complaining.
In her book, Making a Literary Life, novelist Carolyn See wrote, “Here’s the supreme advantage of hanging out with people who don’t support your writing. You won’t have to write! Or if you do, you won’t have to enjoy it. You can pout full-time, look out the window, waste your life, and blame someone else. But that’s a colossal bore.”
This passage does not only apply to living a creative life. It applies to life, full stop. Replace “don’t support your writing” with “don’t support you changing.” See how that quote reads with the modification? When we hang out with The Moan and Groan Society we give up on trying to make things better. It is so much easier to stay stuck in misery. To give up responsibility and blame everybody and everything else.
If you want to be happiness, you have to work for it. Joy takes effort and it takes intention. If you feel like you can’t find that with your current crowd, it’s time to look for people who take control of their own happiness, who want to live and grow and learn.
There are other people out there to be friends with, who will help you to break the habit of wallowing in complaining. It doesn’t mean you have to never talk to your current group of friends again. It means that if you want to grow and move forward, then you need to cancel your membership in The Moan and Groan Society and make a habit of looking for the blessings in your life, not your problems.