It is 1 PM, it is summertime, and you have been in a queue at the bank for two hours. You look at the person right in front of you and, almost unconsciously, you complain about the heat of the day. That person agrees with you and you both start a brief dialogue, just to let the steam off. It is commonplace to complain with people who are going through a situation similar to ours. Also, when things are not going as well as we would like to. Anyway, complaining is part of our daily lives.
Evidently, some people like to complain a lot. It even seems they complain about everything. But how do we get to such a situation?
If we listen to many different opinions, we’ll get varying explanations: dissatisfaction, pessimism, seeing “a half empty glass,” passiveness, among other things. In any case, it would be more interesting to ask: what can we do to help a person with that attitude? Or, if that’s the case, what to do to help ourselves if we are among those who complain a lot about everything?
Faith offers many treasures to us. One of them is putting us in contact with revelation. There are things that would be very difficult to know, but faith enables us to have access to them. Thus, we have been told that we were created and that creation is good. What is more, people also talk about grace, and about God’s desire to bestow even greater goods. Everything we have has been received. Our own existence has not come from ourselves; it has been given to us as a gift by our parents. Therefore, a first answer would be gratitude. Perhaps, when we complain a lot, it is because deep inside we have forgotten to thank.
It is not just a question of perspective, as when we see “a half empty glass.” It is acknowledging that we have been given a glass and the water it contains. Based on that, we may realize another aspect that makes people complain too much: they need to acquire a broader view of things. In the initial example, I mentioned heat, hunger and waiting; let’s also think about when we are annoyed by heat or cold, or because we have to take a long walk, or we are stuck in a car in a terrible traffic jam, or we don’t have time to do everything we need to, or we don’t have anything to do at all. A partial view might lead us to arrive at the wrong conclusions, or at very limited ones, in all the cases above.
So, gratitude and a more far-reaching view might be lacking to those people who complain too much. We just have to recognize what lies ahead and learn to thank in the midst of all that.