I find it incredibly annoying when I’m upset about a person, place, or thing, I’m on a rant, and the individual listening responds by telling me I should be grateful. It feels like a dismissal of my complaint, valid or not, and a recommendation that I pivot to a “soft music inserted here” blissful moment when I see how lovely life is and how wrong I was to find the awful in this grand world we inhabit.
I see the benefits of complaining. I find it helps me to release my frustration, as well as other unpleasant emotions, so that I can find that blissful place on my own. I am all for being inspired, but I am not a fan of skipping the messy parts so that I make it easier for someone else.
Conversely, in moments of awe and wonder I enjoy the wave of gratitude that envelops me. And, in times when I experience hardship and my family, friends, acquaintances and/or strangers offer their support, I am forever grateful. Kindness is taken in and helps me to grow. My heart softens.
When I listen to award shows, I feel badly for the winners who only want to share their special moment by acknowledging the countless others who allowed them to reach that stage, but the orchestra music plays to interrupt them. Though I won’t name names here, only because I am apt to miss some, I am forever grateful to my relatives, friends, teachers, mentors, therapists, co-workers, colleagues, classmates, and others who have shared their thoughtfulness. It has inspired me. Their acts of kindnesses have been invaluable whether they remember them or not.
So, if for a short time I complain, it is only so that I can unload on my own terms, allowing me to get back to a place in which I am genuinely grateful for all the times I’ve been the recipient of your and others’ generosity of heart.
- Find a person to whom you can share your complaints. In the absence of a neutral listener, write down your complaints so they are not swimming in circles in your brain.
- Remember times in which you were the recipient of arbitrary kindness. Check in with how it feels to recollect that time.
- Write a thank you note. We have lost that art, and they are so appreciated.