Nobody likes a complainer, right? Apparently, there are entire websites dedicated to putting an end to complaints.
And while chronic complaining IS a total drag, I find it a little ironic to complain about complainers. Perhaps, a form of optimistic complaining?
If I had to choose between voicing a complaint or a solution – of course, I’d choose a solution… I mean, if I had one at the time. But, depending on the problem, the solution isn’t always that easy or clear, is it? Problem solving is a process.
Recognizing and voicing what’s wrong eventually might lead to what’s right. There is a place in this world for complaints, rants, and vents.
It’s a matter of having the self-awareness to know whether you’re throwing yourself a pity party or complaining constructively. Just like there is constructive criticism, there is also constructive complaining.
And no, I’m not going to make up a list of “rules” that define what constructive complaining is in pretty bullet point format. This isn’t that kinda blog.
This is a conversation about intolerance and compassion.
About not tolerating complaints or alternative methods of problem solving. And that’s a shame, because you miss out on an opportunity to show someone compassion who might really need it.
What does compassion mean to you?
Jeff Goins describes compassion as ‘suffering with’ someone. He goes on to say in his book, Wrecked - “Our brokenheartedness at the injustices we witness is what gives us compassion. So when we rush past these messy and uncomfortable moments, we take away the experiences that teach us mercy.”
When you look at it that way, it becomes very clear why people are so uncomfortable around complaining or hearing bad news in general. We all want to avoid suffering as much as possible, don’t we? But, should we avoid it?
Ten months ago, I got the worst news of my life, and I found out very quickly that people were more interested in telling me how I should feel, how to look at it in some positive way than just listening. So, I stopped talking about it. I’d rather say nothing than act delusional by sugar-coating reality. I’d rather suffer alone than deny that I’m in pain.
But, the pain is good.
Because without the pain, where’s the impact? How do you learn? How do you know which way is pleasure if you can’t even call pain by it’s real name?
If you’re too busy numbing it down with pretty positive substitutions that you find in some book by Tony Robbins? How do you know what matters if you refuse to experience the emptiness that arrives when you lose something or worse – someone you love?
If you don’t call things what they really are, then aren’t you just like that bee that keeps crashing into the window over and over saying… this time! this time! this time! this time! …. ?
All the optimism in the world doesn’t change the fact that he’s ramming his poor little head into the glass. It isn’t until he calls it GLASS does he finally have the option of figuring out a way to open the window or risk his life by crashing his body right through it. Those are your options. Do you understand? Those are it. I’m sorry it doesn’t prettier.
I’m sorry I don’t have a famous quote that makes you feel warm and fuzzy about life. But, the good news is that it isn’t that bad.
To face things. The way they REALLY are. It’s liberating. To not be sold a story anymore. To start writing your own. See, I don’t want to “sell you anything” because I’d rather you create something instead…