In the West, and particularly in well-off societies, we complain a lot. Whine, whinge, and in general lament the demise of everything. In the East, where Arran and I travel frequently, we never witness the level of complaining we see in the West. Ramp up the poverty, and usually the happiness increases. The level of ease, playfulness and joy in small day to day happenings, seems earnest and honest. Then track over to an expensive restaurant in a first world city, and your ears are surrounded by the gripes of the affluent.
Apologising for complaining doesn’t balance the scales either. A whine followed by a ‘well, you see the thing is…’ or a ‘I don’t want to seem negative BUT it’s just that…’ doesn’t mean we’re not complaining. It’s that we’re trying to justify our negativity.
Complaining is the expression of disease, discomfort or unhappiness. What we bring to the table in our conversations affects not only us, but the listener also. Would we really like to bestow unhappiness and discomfort upon someone else? Surely not. Surely we don’t want to be responsible for stealing joy!
Personally, complaining has never made me feel any better for it. And it certainly doesn’t make for juicy, inspiring conversation. Being in another Western city of Los Angeles at the moment, slightly off kilter, over excited, struggling with small differences and challenges, makes it easy to whinge. The temptation to indulge in some good old complaining can be strong. But what the mind indulges, the body wears. Negativity is absorbed into the cellular structure of the body, that then imprints and has to be released at some stage. So a commitment to being positive or neutral is good not only for our mental health, but our physical health.
So what are you committed to?