It's so easy to complain. We all have done it at times, some of us more than others. We all have various and sometimes numerous reasons to complain. Some of them are within our power to change, and others not. We complain about our job, our health, the weather, our neighbors, our kids, our families, our government, the environment, the state of the world... As you can see, if you want to complain there is no lack of things to complain about.
However, the question is, does complaining help? And, of course, we all know the answer... complaining does not really help. It may make us feel better for a few moments, just as draining the pus from a wound makes it feel better, but it is not really a healing process in itself. Draining the pus may make it possible for the healing to take place, but simply draining it, day in and day out, will only aggravate the wound and stop it from healing.
What We Focus On Expands
What we focus on expands. The more we focus on something, the bigger it seems, even if just in our minds. Just think about it. If the weather is not to your liking and you keep focusing on it (complaining about it), it doesn't help at all -- it just makes you more upset or depressed about the state of the weather. However, if you choose to go on about your life and make the best of it (rain or no rain, sunshine or not), you can create a great experience for yourself, which you would not have had if you had just sat there and complained about the weather.
The same principle applies to pain. I've noticed that if I have a headache and I just sit around and mope, the headache remains at the forefront of my awareness. On the other hand, if I get busy and "distract myself" by doing something constructive, then I "forget" that I have a headache, and while I'm not thinking about the headache and I'm totally involved in something, I have no headache (or at least I'm not aware of it, which basically comes to the same thing -- no pain). (And for those of you who suffer from migraines, yes, I know this may not necessarily apply to migraines. I have found it very hard to "distract myself" when I have a migraine -- but who's to say it wouldn't work if we could truly "forget" that we have a migraine?)
Constructive or Destructive?
Complaining about something in the state of the world (whether we're talking about our small world or the world at large) is not a constructive solution. It is rather destructive. The more we complain, the more negative we feel.
We do have a choice. As we always do. We can choose to complain about our life, about events in it, about the situation in world politics, about the environment, or we can "get off the pot" and do something about it. We are adults who have the power to make decisions, to take action, to make changes. We are not helpless babies (and even babies are not helpless, as evidenced by a parent's frantic efforts to stop a baby's loud cries and wails).
Our life is as we make it. Yes, things happen "to us", but how we react, and what we choose to do about it is entirely up to us. Yes, we can, as many of us did for years, focus on personal growth and healing our lives... and this is an important process. Yet, we need to remember that healing our lives involves the healing of the planet. The planet is our home... all of it...
We all have choices to make. There are two roads in front of us. One of rampant consumerism and rampant egotism, and one of caring for the planet and all of the people on it.
Life seems to go to extremes. When one looks at history, and looks at the Roman Empire, the collapse of the empire came due to total self-indulgence in pleasure, greed, intoxication, power, etc. At this time in US history, it seems that we have reached the same point. We have "used resources" throughout the world without concern for the future generations. We have consumed and spread garbage without thought of the future and of the example we were giving. We speak of being a model of democracy, yet most of us do not vote and many of us feel that it is "beneath us" to delve into the "dirty world" of politics.
Shall we stand by and watch Rome burn (watch the planet be destroyed by greed and apathy)? Or shall we do something while we can? Are we innocent bystanders, or are we part of the problem and thus possibly part of the solution? One of my favorite expressions has been "It takes two to tango." In other words, if Rome is getting ready to burn and we do nothing to stop it, then we are participating in the cause of that burning. We are just as responsible as the people who set the fire.
Creating Our Reality
We are not separate from the world. This is our reality, here and now. If we were in an alternate reality, then war, poverty, and crime would not exist on "our planet"... yet it does.
So in focusing on creating our reality, we need to take all of it into consideration. Not just our immediate environment, but the whole shebang. We are not powerless. We are powerful. We are not peons and slaves. We are free beings and we can choose what actions we take. We have the power to make a difference, just by our presence, by our choices, by our actions. Let's get off the couch and do something about the world... Let's beautify the world by doing our part to making it a better place for all.
Small Pleasures: Finding Grace in a Chaotic World
by Justine Toms.
Forty-nine short meditative essays that help readers to turn aside from their chaotic lives to experience grace and possibility in the small, critically important things in life.
About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.More articles by Marie T. Russell