thoughts on vulnerability & complaining

Complaining so much literally makes my blood feel stale. Both Jonathan and I have slipped into the habit of complaining more than we seem to talk about anything else. Complaints about aches and pains seem to be the most prevalent. My pregnancy aches and pains and his shoulder aches and pains. When we ask how the other is doing the response tends to be more negative than positive. I don’t like it and lately I’ve been thinking about why people do it so often.

Complaining is a sort of cry for help. It’s a cry for attention. It’s letting the people around you know that you are in pain, or struggling in some way, in hopes that they will respond with comfort or offer some sort of security. When you really get down to it, complaining is passive aggressive. We could simply state what we are struggling with and ask for help but instead we whine about the negative in our lives expecting attention without asking for any help. And if help is not offered then we often pout about it and resentment builds – totally unjustified resentment, if you ask me.

I’ve never liked hearing people complain (even though I’m guilty of it myself). I’m an action oriented person and would rather fix my problems myself or ask for help if I can’t and I would rather see other people do that also. Even if the help we need is just some sort of comfort and affection – if that’s what you need in that moment to feel better then ask for it.

People too easily choose to complain over asking for help or comfort.

Perhaps the reason Jonathan and I seem to complain about our aches and pains so much is because some sort of comfort from each other is lacking – or perhaps it’s not lacking, it just hasn’t increased to the level we need it to be now. I think that’s more likely. Pregnancy and the upcoming life changes are certainly making us both feel more sensitive and vulnerable. We need to take more time to offer comfort and love and positivity to our marriage and spend less time complaining about our physical aches. We need to take more time taking care of each other and nurturing each other, drawing each other baths, offering back rubs, doing whatever we can to ease each other’s pains before we resign to just complaining to each other.

I want a house of light and love and joy and affection. I’ve been terrible at that and I genuinely want to improve.

Complaining is also about pride, especially when two people are complaining. The inner narrative is often “why should I help them feel better if they’re not helping me feel better? I’m in pain also!”

That narrative makes me gag even though I am guilty of it. The bigger person would choose to help the other person out of love without expecting anything in return, even if we are in pain ourselves.

Furthermore, I believe that the more we choose joy, and speak of the positive aspects of our life then the struggles we used to complain about will begin to diminish. The mind is so, so powerful. If we give energy to all of our aches and pains and struggles every day more than we give energy to our joys and blessings, simply with our thoughts and words, then woe is our life. We need to shift our mindset. If someone asks you how you are maybe try not to respond with “meh, my back hurts” and instead take a moment to think of something good and pronounce that instead even if you just say “I’m okay, just taking a rest.” I’ve been trying this out the past couple of days. I view it as a game. Step 1: catch myself before I respond negatively; Step 2: think of something positive or even just neutral to say; Step 3: say that instead, with a smile.

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