Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I LOVE complaining!

I have to say it... I love complaining. I really do. When I lived with J. one of my favorite times of the day was when we got back from work and unloaded about all the crazy things that happened at work... or about perhaps the greatest source of complaints in Portland: Tri-met. (Because you know, Tri-met cannot always be exactly on time.) Anyway we'd go on and on, and occasionally work up some righteous indignation (my favorite kind of indignation btw) and decide to write a letter! One thing I love better than complaining is writing complaint letters. And if I really got going - I'd write a letter to Congress. Man I love writing righteously indignant letters to Congress. LOVE IT!!! I treasure the form letters I get back from my senators. Democracy at work, I tell you.

Now, I realize that not all complaining is entertaining or worthy of congressional inquiry. But sometimes it is helpful. When you complain you can see where things are going wrong in your life. And you need to see what's wrong in your life before you can change it. I think it even helps to complain about the little things in life. I complained a few times about a sales lady at a particular fabric store in town. And after the third time I complained about it, it occurred to me that she really bugs me, and there are a lot of different places to buy fabric in town - so there's no reason for me to go back there. If I hadn't complained, but rather kept my mouth shut, I'd still be going to that store, getting bad service and being cranky about it. Alternately, I could have complained to her, or to the store manager, and the situation may have been corrected that way.

Even better, if I complain publicly about something that's not going well in my life, there's a good chance that I'll get some advice - maybe really good advice. I might learn a new way to deal with the situation, or fix it, or get an alternate perspective on the situation that makes it less upsetting.

I do acknowledge that I am very blessed, and it's important to acknowledge that regularly. Focusing on the positive can really improve my mood, and also direct me towards what I really do like.

There's a lot of pop psychology out right now about thinking positive. The book The Secret claims that thinking positively will change your world due to the 'laws of attraction' - that which you focus on will increase. I don't buy it. I think there are things in this world that you can control, and things you can't. I don't believe that thinking positively is going to cure cancer - or that cancer is the manifestation of 'negative thought patterns'. But then there have been studies showing the effects of prayer / meditation on recovery from illness. So, I guess, think positively, but take your meds too!

Ultimately I think there's a time & place for everything. It's good to vent frustrations and voice complaints. But it's also good to get some perspective and try to focus on the good things in life. Too much of either- bitching & moaning or little miss sunshine-ing can make a person pretty intolerable to be around, IMHO.

Feel free to complain in the comments. But if you're going to complain about my complaining, you must acknowledge the irony. Oh, another favorite complaint of mine - the misuse of the word "Irony"! But don't get me started. ;) :P


Gorgeous said...

Oh, don't get me started on The Secret. A friend of mine here and I are all worked up about it. Apparently, you're supposed to make a video with pictures of the things you want and then watch it twice a day and we're like "a picture of a big pile of money isn't going to make me rich, no matter how many times a day I look at it." I'm with you, girl -- complain away!

Penny Karma said...

I'm with you 100% - a well-worded complaint is quite therapeutic!

Magatha said...

Comnplain away, you'll live longer. May you complain your way to 100 years!

The Secret, is no secret. Bah!

Some peeps don't learn a thing from the complaining. Constructive complaint is what you're engaging in.

Tell you a secret, I wrtie scathing complaint emails all the time. I am a master of the art.

jenn said...

the post-work complain session was totally my favorite part of the day when we lived together too! not having someone to come home and bitch to is a major drawback of living alone. and for some reason, it's just not as satisfying to complain about MUNI as it is to complain about good ol' tri-met.

did you see the article in slate about The Secret and Oprah? http://www.slate.com/id/2166211/

Webbo said...

I am a big fan of complaining too. I see it is an essential activity of civilised society! As for The Secret, I get the impression that it's half obvious and half offensive. Hope the thumb's doing ok!