Week Seven: No Complaints

Published Monday, April 30, 2012 by Chasing Neptune

You know those people who always have something to bitch about? My foot hurts, my head hurts, my job is so hard, my classes suck, why doesn’t anyone listen to me? I’ll tell you why: it’s because you’re fucking annoying.

As you may or may not have  deduced by now, those people irritate me. In the last few months, I have found myself with more to whine about than normal, and I began to wonder, am I turning into one of those pitiful, self-obsessed, attention whores?* Therefore, in order to avoid any further decline in my self-respect, I decided to challenge myself: no complaining for one week.

Rules: No whining, bitching, bad-mouthing, disgruntled sighing, etc. Stating a fact (I have a lot of homework) is acceptable, but whining about it (Oh my God, I have so much homework to do, and I just want to watch YouTube videos!) is unacceptable.

Throughout the week, I kept a record of the things about which I wanted to complain and whether or not I was successful. Complaints can be categorized as follows:

Side Effects of New Skin Medication

  • Sore back
  • Head ache
  • Dry skin
  • Dry, chapped lips
  • Dry, itchy scalp
  • Skin worsening before improving

College

  • 10-page Sociology paper
  • 10-page European Literature paper
  • 5-page British Literature paper
  • Mixed-feelings about future as a writer
  • My own procrastination and resulting workload
  • Lack of freedom and inspiration in classes

Other People

  • Obnoxious American Idol contestant
  • Colleagues slacking on their responsibilities
  • Those I live with disrespecting the tv reserve system
  • People who can’t drive (2x)
  • Loud people — everywhere
  • People who don’t clean public toilets after they puke in them

Results: I had to catch myself twice (anyone who has driven in Johnson County will surely grant me a pass on this one), and by Sunday, my itchy skin was so intolerable that I did bitch a bit. However, overall, I think that I did a relatively decent job of being a martyr for my first-world problems.

Lesson: I realized that I am most likely to complain around those who I love and trust, like my best friends and close family. I’ve also found that there is a sort of quiet dignity in being one of the few people who does not whine about every little problem. It takes an absence from complaint to truly see just how much breath we waste on whining in our society. And I mean waste. None of my “problems” were anything worth complaining about — and 99.5% of the issues I hear those around me bitching about aren’t real problems either.

So here is a lesson for the few that read this: stop whining. At least, for a day. Whenever you think your world is crashing down around you, take a few moments to reflect on the positive aspects of your life.

And most importantly, before you inflict your incessant complaining on those around you, consider how your whining impacts their perceptions of you. Do you really want to be the person that is notorious for self-obsession, negativity, and attention-seeking?

There’s a difference between a head ache and a cracked skull. But if you keep whining about the former, you just may end up with the latter.

*I would like to note that I, like everyone else, complain about unimportant things. I am human, and thus imperfect and hypocritical. Exhibit A: the majority of this rant against complaining is a complaint about complainers.

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