Wednesday, October 17, 2007

complaint department

Complaining is the pressure valve of the powerless. In themselves, our complaints don't mean much. Answer one, and another will appear. The specifics are just an opening to vent. The deeper issue is having little or no power in a world where power seems to be everything.
—Tom Ehrich

When I read this the other day I had just finished complaining about something. It made me laugh, but more than that, it stopped me in my tracks and made me think. He's right of course. About all of it... that it generally does no good, that I use it as an internal release valve when things aren't as I think they should be. While whatever it is may not necessarily be my fault, I'm still upset.

There were a few cracks on the past Cursillo weekend and things fell through. I was doing my best not to complain; after all, I was supposed to be offering spiritual direction, not bitching about somebody else's lack of attention to detail. But the strain of not complaining was as great as the problems themselves. I recognized my own tendency (need) to vent.

How do we change this? Putting a lid on it only builds the pressure. Accepting everything as life the way it is, seems too passive. My way of dealing has often been: vent/apologize... vent again. It keeps me sane but not much changes.


Sue B. said...

I've never seen accepting things I can't change as passive. On the contrary, it is a very difficult thing for me to do and requires me to be very active in my life and those around me. But then I'm not everyone......

merryn said...

If you figure this one out, please let me know! I too release pressure by complaining and grumbling. I don't know that it keeps me sane but at least I haven't physically hurt anyone. I am still working on cutting out sarcasm though - that is hurtful.