We all have one – that friend that never seems to be happy about much of anything. Everything he or she posts online feels like a call for sympathy or mindless rant.
Ugh! No one wants to hear it. Yet I see so many people rush to make Ms. Complainer feel better, to rescue her from her distress by agreeing with how horrible her situation must be, and to provide the requisite pity. Or then there are folks who will jump at the chance to join the misery party, as an excuse to reveal that one’s own life is SO much worse because a bad haircut ruined the whole day.
I love the expression “First-World Problems,” for the horribly offensive reality check in it all. What stops us from laughing at the absurdity of these complaints when we see them from our friends? What stops us from calling them out on the whining?
I think I know why. We let them complain because no complainer wants a reality check. No complainer wants to shake it off, move on, find the joy in the moment. Instead, they want pity, they want sympathy, and they want to wallow in it like a bath of warm mud. Care to join them?
Have you ever been the whiner? Do you ever replay the things that you say, or reread the things that you type? Do you ever post looking for sympathy, or just to rant a bit?
We forget. We forget that we truly are living such privileged lives, with access to almost anything, right at our fingertips. Groceries and pizzas come directly to our doors, clean water with the flip of a lever, not to mention the amazing internet access that grants unlimited access to knowledge, comedy, music, and friends and family around the world.
And shoot, if I take a moment to think about how many friends I’ve made that I’ve never met in person – the ability to connect with like-minded people across the globe means that none of us ever need feel excluded or alone. There is someone out there who understands you, who thinks like you do, who laughs and cries for the same reasons you do.
So let’s pause for a moment to think about the things we “cry” over. Is it all justified? Is it all worth sharing? Are we lamenting over problems that aren’t really problems? Are we comparing our lives and counting the woes?
Because here’s the thing…
All of the petty, insignificant complaints that fill our screens – they also FILL OUR MINDS. When we choose to focus on negativity, all we will see or hear or feel is negativity. We will never find peace, joy, contentment if all we choose to focus on is the “bad” stuff that happened “to us” today.
There really is a silver lining to EVERYTHING, we just have to LOOK for it. We have to choose to put our attention on finding something positive. And we have to choose to talk about those positives instead of complaining.
We choose to be faithful. We choose to be grateful. We choose to be hopeful.
We choose to sit in a place of graceful compassionate peace. Try it – picture that place. Because even thinking of what a place of graceful compassion looks like often melts away the need for complaining! This place cannot exist for the complainer; misery is not found here.
So I know the next time I feel the urge to go on a bit of a rant, complain using my finely tuned sarcastic wit, or post something that “everyone will relate to,” I’m going to pause. I’m going to reread before I hit POST. I’m going to ask myself what I’m putting out to the world, and where my mind is wallowing.
Once we choose to remove the complaining, once we require a re-read of a status update, comment, or hashtag before hitting “POST,” we’ve changed. We’ve opened ourselves to gratitude, to joy, and to peace.
And that’s the place I want to live.