Is there room for complaining?
Today, I am happy to address the point raised by a reader in response to yesterday’s blog on complaining.
If a situation displeases you and you feel that it impacts on you negatively, you have three options. You can do nothing while complaining and continuing to suffer; or you can do your best to change the situation; or if it is out of your control, you can accept what is.
As most of us would consciously not choose to suffer, let’s go on to the second option. By wishing to change something, we are working from the premise that a positive outcome is the desired result. A positive outcome cannot be preceded by a negative transaction. For example, ranting and raving at someone may make the person withdraw thereby closing the channel of communication or he/she could retaliate with a counter-attack. However, if you address a matter from a peaceful presence, in other words not with charged emotion, the other person will feel relaxed and more readily open to join you in calmly assessing the situation.
The point of option two is to address the matter in the power of peace and explain your concern from the perspective of how it makes you feel, and not in accusatory terms targeted at the other. You cannot truly know the exact intentions or thoughts of the other person, nor can you expect him to know exactly how you feel. Once you have described the issue from your perspective, it is very productive to suggest a solution.
Timing is also important, if it’s possible. Approaching someone when he appears harassed or tired is not a good time to address an issue.
When something is out of our control, then complaining about it will only serve to depress moods. How often do we complain about the weather, for example, and by doing so feel even more hot or cold or whatever it is that we are complaining about? Fully accepting what is, releases our focus of attention from that (as in the weather example), to move on to something else.
And the same goes for people – we can never truly control others, only ourselves. Acceptance of this fact leaves us free to be fully present for our own life rather than dwell in resentment of or disappointment over the actions of others.
Resisting what is, is a waste of time and energy. As the saying goes, ‘what you resist, persists.’ Accepting the thorns, leaves you free to enjoy the beauty of the rose.
“There are two ways to live your life – one is stressed out and one is not. One hurts and one doesn’t.” ~ Byron Katie