I have a complaint. Along with everyone else.
Lately I have been noticing a lot of complaining. Complaining about what laws may or may not be passed. Complaints about the price of gas and the avarice of the oil companies. Complaints about sitting in traffic. Complaints about ones health. Complaints about the unending rain. Complaints about the attitudes and behaviors of other people.
These complaints seem to echo the standard societal symptoms: A powerlessness against the conditions or circumstances that affect our lives. We walk up to the vending machine of victimhood, punch in the letter and number that represents the outside factor that has forced our lives into such a state of suffering, then the badge of helplessness drops to the tray which we snatch up and place proudly on our lapel.
The implication that we have no control over what affects our life condition saves us from having to do some honest work. If we can blame someone or something else for our dissatisfaction then we can eschew examining how our own choices create the reality we’ve designed for ourselves. It’s classic cake-eating syndrome, where we want the freedom to choose whatever we desire for ourselves, but not the responsibility for whatever choice we happen to make.
So what’s my complaint? My complaint is being subject to the bombardment of complaints. My complaint is about all the complaints. Am I aware that I’m participating in the mosh pit of aggravation, slamming my frustrations into the same people that are slamming theirs into me? Am I being blind to the pure unadulterated paradoxical hypocrisy that brands my complaining? Yes, I’m afraid so. The minister of myself is shouting a sermon in my ear loud and clear.
I suppose it’s time I break down my hypocritical oath. Time I redirect my tweezers away from the splinters in others’ eyes and pick up a hand mirror so I can extract my own. My dissatisfaction is with the inability to control the complaining of others. I am placing responsibility on the other complainers so I don’t have to take responsibility for my own state of mind. What is the reflection of myself I’m seeing in the complainers? Where do I feel powerless in my own life? What is the circumstance in my own life I’m avoiding taking responsibility for?
My frustration with the complaining of others stems from not being able to help them see that the perspective they have on their own lives is of their own choosing. Nothing I can do or say will force anyone to see that. I am holding onto a feeling of helplessness and projecting the cause of this onto the complaints of others. It’s as if to say “if others didn’t complain I would feel better”.
Perhaps I need to get over the need to feel compelled to curb and control the complaints. If I truly believe a person’s perspective on their life’s condition is their choice, can’t I simply respect their choice? As much as it pains me to see people choose to see their life as a struggle, as suffering, or as a series of inconveniences, shouldn’t I be okay with knowing it is their life to perceive however they choose? I feel as if I’m asking myself to be okay with people not being okay with themselves. In a way I am.
So for the last piece: Where am I shrugging off my own accountability? It seems to me that I’m basing the value of my message of personal accountability on whether or not it’s validated by others through the acceptance of the message. It seems that I am depending on others to accept this perspective in order for it to truly have merit. It’s as if I wonder if my words are cast aside by others, do they then become invalid? This is one of the greatest struggles I deal with.
The best thing I can do for myself is to deeply understand that this belief is valid for me, that its validity is not dependent on its acceptance by anyone other than myself. Once I can do this I will then be able to allow people to come upon it the way I did; at their own pace, in their own time, and at their own choosing. And if they never do, that’s okay because that’s what works for them.