Positive And Negative Expression
Like most things I feel that complaining
has a positive and negative expression.
Most of the time when we complain
we are emphasizing the negative aspects of our lives .
Perhaps we use complaining to
dwell on our problems or
to get sympathy from others.
Express the Negative Because I’m Seeking Change
At the same time I feel a certain amount of
selective complaining can be useful.
Most of the time when I complain about something
I am trying to make it clear to myself that
there is something I want to change in my life.
Rather than using it to dwell on my problems
I am highlighting just how much I am unhappy
with my present circumstances in order to
motivate myself to do something about it.
Discernment is Key
It is good to know that there is a constructive and destructive
form of complaining and to be able to
discern which is which at any moment in time.
A Good Listener Can Have a Profound Effect
I was talking to my dear friend Puja the other day
and I was complaining about something or the other.
Puja is a very good listener.
She was very present with me,
offering me support and empathy
as I was expressing myself.
She also asked questions to draw
out more from me when necessary.
This helped me to have a full emotional expression
and then transition to a solution minded focus.
I was able to think about what
my next steps might be in order to
turn my situation around.
Sharing Her Own Experience
At one point during my sharing
she started to talk about
a situation in her own life that paralleled mine.
This can be a helpful thing to do
when someone is talking about something difficult
because it helps them to not feel alone.
Self-Awareness In Action
She started saying:
“Something similar just happened to me, the other day I was…”
Then suddenly she stopped.
There was a moment of silence.
Then she asked herself:
“Do I want to complain?”
Another moment of silence
and she answered her own question:
“No. I don’t.”
Then we just went on with our conversation.
Honouring Herself Made Her More Present
She continued to be just as supportive
a listener as she was before.
In fact the act of honouring herself
made her even more present with me.
This was a beautiful example of
self-awareness and discernment.
Layers of Need and Desire
In that moment I could see she
had the desire to complain.
It came upon her and that is why
she started to talk about that
difficult situation in her life.
At the same time she had
another level of desire
to not amplify the negative in her life.
Seeking the Most Authentic Choice
That desire helped her to look at the situation
in a more objective way.
Rather than just go with her first impulse,
she took a moment to feel inside for
what was the highest or most authentic choice.
Once she determined which it was
she had the courage to follow it.
I think this is something we could all do more often.
We all have different layers of desires and
it is a useful thing to be able to
determine which is the most necessary, authentic
and helpful to follow in any given moment.
I Learned From This Experience
She didn’t say complaining is always wrong
therefore I’m not going to complain.
Instead she accepted that the complaining might
very well be necessary and helpful in that moment,
but she wanted to be sure.
It was a wonderful thing to witness
and I learned from it as well.
I learned that I have choice
even when often it seems like I don’t.
I learned the usefulness of
taking a moment to pause
when something feels off.
And I learned that I want to
increase my ability to be
self-aware and authentic.
I Know I Kind Of Meandered Between Two Points Here
The first being that complaining is sometimes useful, often not.
The second was about being more self-aware
and asking myself if I’m being
my most authentic in this moment.
I think they are both important ideas
and one is extremely useful in illustrating the other.
I certainly learned about both during that conversation.
Good Friends are a Gift
I will also add that it is good
to have good friends
and the best kind of friends are
ones we can learn from.
Even better are those with whom
we are co-learners.
Walking the path of growth
and development side by side.