As you’re reading this, there is a child in Syria who is currently running for his life trying to escape the harms of a detonated bomb.
There is a father who is amongst the hundreds of helpless people currently being held hostage by ISIS militants in Paris.
There is a mother in Borno state, Nigeria, who is grievingly but patiently awaiting the return of her daughter who was abducted over 600 days ago.
There is a child somewhere in the world who is currently feeding on ants for survival.
There is someone out there in a hospital bed counting down to his death because he can no longer fight the cancer.
There is a young old boy who has been deprived of an education, and is currently hawking bananas on the road instead.
The world we currently live in is full of people who are struggling to eat, struggling to breathe and struggling to live. There is a huge imbalance between the people living comfortably, and the people living in distress. The moment you think about all the dreadful and unimaginable things that people around the world are going through, your need to complain, about anything at all, will be hindered immediately.
Complaining basically means expressing dissatisfaction about something. We all complain; it’s a very normal thing to do. Sure, a common complaint can be satisfying, but neither can it make any situation better, so why bother?
Life is hectic and demanding for everybody, and sometimes it’s impossible to go a day without being annoyed by someone or something. Even those who seem to have a “rosy” life have one or two things to constantly complain about.
But as easy as it is to nag and whine over a situation, we must understand that complaining is the primary step towards living a very miserable life. It’s definitely hard to smile through pain, but one way I have learned to stop complaining is by realizing that People Have It Worse.
There are so many situations in life that we think are “tough” for us, but little do we know that someone somewhere in this same world is dealing with something much more tragic.
If you’re complaining about not having a “model’s body”, remember that people out there have deformities and defects that they can never control. They have to live their lives being criticized and stigmatized, because they “fail” to meet up to society’s standard of beautiful.
If you’re complaining about how tasteless your food is, do not forget that about 795 million people around the world don’t have enough food to eat.
I once complained about walking in the scorching sun one afternoon because I had no one to drive me to the salon. I remember nagging before going, while going, and on my way back. Then my mother reminded me of the beggars, the hawkers and the homeless, who literally reside right under the sun, every minute of the day.
Indeed, the sun was harsh and whining seemed satiating, but when I remembered that people like them exist, and that was what they go through on a daily basis, I realized that I really had no reason to nag.
Whatever you complain about, just take a second to remember that someone is dealing with something worse, and you will suddenly be thankful for your “predicament”.
Another thing I always remind myself when I complain is: Someone somewhere would kill to have what you are complaining about.
Human beings unknowingly complain about blessings too. I remember complaining about how stressful and annoying school was. But then I realized that there are millions of people my age who aren’t in school due to one misfortune or the other. How then can I complain about something other people would love to have? School is definitely stressful, but an education is an inestimable privilege that many children are being deprived of today. We complain about food, we complain about work, we complain about our children, we complain about our jobs, completely forgetting that these are the things that keep us going. These are the things we have been blessed with.
We even go to the extent of complaining about life, one of the most precious gifts we can ever have.
It is so easy to whisper under your breath that “life sucks”, but hard to remember that many people would love to trade places with you, and breathe the breath of life again.
Would you want to have your life taken from you because it ‘sucks’? I presume not. At least you are alive and you have the opportunity to make that “sucky life” a better one. Not everyone has that chance.
While complaining about something, also understand that you aren’t the only one dealing with such a situation. Everyone is facing one trial or the other, you are not being singled out and punished.
I have tried to control how much I complain by praying, looking for a solution to the problem, or simply being thankful.
There is nothing God cannot do, and so I take all my complaints to Him, because He is the ultimate problem solver. I look for a solution as well. I know it’s easier to complain than to fix a problem, but if you are not happy with something, then look for a way to change it. Complaining rarely helps any situation, but finding a solution to the problem does.
And even if there is no solution, then you have no other choice but to accept things as they are. There’s no point in complaining over something you cannot change, fix or control; acceptance is much easier.
This New Year, let’s adopt a lifestyle whereby we appreciate more and complain less. Let’s learn to make life better, rather than mope over any and everything. And most importantly, let’s always be thankful, keeping in mind that people out there want what we complain about, or in many cases, have it worse.
“May God grant me the the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr