The Joy of ComplainingYou sometimes wish you didn’t, but you complain a lot.

Your job is stressful. Your rent is too high. Food costs too much. Taxes are too high. People on the bus are annoying. Drivers on the road are inconsiderate. Your friends are annoying. Your meal was cold when it reached your table, which was doubly annoying because it was overpriced.

Sometimes, things just suck.

And you want to whinge and moan and vent all over anyone who offers you half an ear.

And it’s not nice. You don’t want to be that person. You want to be happy and to have nice things to say.

But you don’t have that option.

And it’s not a matter of positive thinking. It’s not because you need new friends or new stuff or a new job or a new life.

It’s because complaining is actually quite fun. Deep down, you know that the world would be kind of boring if it was perfect, if there was nothing left to improve, if there was nothing that didn’t make you groan once in a while. Complaining is cathartic. And healthy. Healthier, at least, than bottling up your frustrations until they boil up your blood pressure into a heart attack.

So don’t worry about it. It’s not the best habit it the world. But it’s not going to kill you. And most people don’t mind. They sympathise with you. Most people are going through the same crap. And they like having someone to complain with.

There is no one in the world who doesn’t have something to complain about.

The people with the biggest houses have to spend more time cleaning them. Or have to pay someone else to do so. The people who have the fastest cars still get stuck in rush hour traffic, still put up with the other terrible drivers on the road, get stuck behind buses and cyclists and have to spend extortionate amounts of money on fuel and road tax. Everyone’s bins fill up way too quickly. Everyone feels fat or spotty or sluggish or lethargic occasionally. Everyone’s kids are bratty from time to time. Almost everyone’s bills feel stupidly expensive.

Even the richest, luckiest, most attractive, happiest people in the world have problems they want to moan about sometimes.

If things were different for you, you’d probably complain the same amount. Just about different things.

If you do change things a huge amount, the first time you notice something to complain about is going to be a massive disappointment. It might feel like it belittles all the hard work you’ve put into your change. The new things that bother you, initially, are going to really hurt. At least you have a relationship with the things that bother you now – you know how to deal with them, how to tolerate them for the time being.

The key to living contentedly isn’t having more stuff or better stuff. Or a bigger house. Or a nicer car. Or anything like that.

It’s remembering that no amount of stuff or money will get rid of all the complaints you might have. It’s remembering that the world is imperfect, and that a lot of humanity finds its joy in pointing out those imperfections and mocking them.

That is, complaining.

If the things that bother you are dangerous or damaging or painful, then do something about them. Complain to someone who can help.

But if your worries are things you can manage, then have a little self-indulgent moan every now and again and just enjoy it. Enjoy the release as you verbally expel all the things that are getting to you. Really embrace the creative endeavour that is finding the most precise and specific words to describe exactly what kind of intellectual pain you have suffered. Lie in that special afterglow and relish the freedom you feel now that those words, at least, are out of your system.

Learn to love your occasional whinge. Your problems will become a lot lighter. Easier to manage.

Maybe even something you can enjoy.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.

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