Culture of Complaints

Not a day goes by that I don’t complain about something, and I think many people can say the same thing. We complain about our jobs; we complain about our bills; we complain about our relationships (or lack of one); and, we complain about our bodies.

I’ve noticed that at least once a day I am texting friends or family to complain about something or someone. If I don’t text them, I am complaining in my journal or to God. At the same time, if I ever AM happy, I am hesitant to talk about it. I am hesitant to say I am enjoying my life, because I don’t want to seem like I am bragging. I’ve also noticed women are hesitant to say they are happy with their bodies because they don’t want to “body shame” someone else. I think the famous scene in Mean Girls sums it up best when every girl is pointing out things they hate about themselves, and Linday Lohan feels like she must do the same.

Complaining is contagious, and unfortunately we live in a culture based off complaints. We can call and complain about professionals, we can write a formal complaint to our bosses, and we can post our complaints on social media for the whole world to see! Those complaints lead to more complaints, and eventually we are a ball of misery and stress, only reflecting on the wrong things that have happened in our lives.

Is all of that complaining really benefitting us? I mean yes, bad things happen a lot of the time, and sometimes you have to get something off your chest and ask for advice. But what happens when complaining takes over? What happens when you become so wrapped up in everything wrong in your life that you fail to notice the brilliance of it?

I can answer that for you; you stay miserable, depressed and eventually all you do is complain.

This has definitely been me in the past few months (and I really hope I am not alone). I complain about my job, my rent, the people in NYC, the heat, my lack of air conditioning, my lack of friends, my lack of car and grocery prices. Seriously, the list goes on and on and on.

Throughout all of those complaints, I found I rarely, if ever talk about the good things that go on in my life. I feel like by stating my joy and my happiness I am boasting and/or rubbing it in. Actually, I expect myself to complain now. It’s almost a habit. I think, “Okay what can I come up with to text so and so.” Or, “Wow that’s obnoxious I need to tell my friends.” Complaining, unfortunately, has become a habit in my every day life.

At the same time, we find it mesmerizing when someone is actually happy. We are stunned when a peer doesn’t join in on complaints about another person. Furthermore, we are confused when someone refuses to state a complaint about life.

My friend, Madison, came to visit me this weekend. Being my frugal self, I encouraged her to take the shuttle instead of a cab. Well, the shuttle service was running extremely late due to Pope Francis’s visit. As I was quick to complain and bash the company she surprised me in saying, “Oh well this is what makes traveling interesting.” Instead of indulging in my complaints she shrugged it off and made light of the situation and found joy out of it. Definitely took me by surprise.

I think it is time for a cultural change, at least in myself. Maybe it’s the recent visit of Pope Francis to New York City, so full of hope and joy it’s impossible to not smile. I realized happiness is just as contagious as unhappiness. Kind words catch on just as much as complaints and negativity.

If someone complains, we shouldn’t feel pressure to join in on the negativity. Instead, we should find a positive or a silver lining to point out. Similarly, we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. We shouldn’t expect life to be perfect and set unrealistic expectations that will only let us down. Life is life and bad stuff, frustrating stuff and annoying stuff happens. But, there is nothing to really complain about.

As we roll into October and the holiday season, I have absolutely no clue what is in store for my life. I don’t know what I want to do or where I want to be. But, I do know I don’t need to complain anymore. It’s exhausting, and I challenge everyone to do the same.

Complaining is worthless; happiness is contagious. Choose to be happy today and boast about it.


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