No Complaining Here

“What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”
― Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

This has nothing to do with the point of this post but whenever I heard Maya Angelou speak, I always imagined that’s how God would sound. She had such a commanding voice, one that could admonish you while gently holding you in her arms at the same time. She deserved a mountaintop. It’s a rare gift.

Anyway, back to what I intended to write before I was distracted with the voice in my head.

I don’t like being around complainers. (Apparently Maya didn’t either). They wear on me. They bring me down. They make me lose my appetite for sweets and that’s a really hard thing to do.

We all know these people, right? They’re all around us, especially in the workplace. Those people who complain about everyone and everything. They hate the company, they don’t like their supervisor, they don’t get paid enough, they’re not appreciated, the company picnic sucked, why is there a dress code, their co-worker annoys them, management doesn’t know what they’re doing, no one knows what their doing.

It’s exhausting.

These are the same people who carry over their bubbly personalities to their private lives. You know who they are. They live in a world where cynicism reigns supreme, where every statement or conversation begins and ends with some form of negativity. There are no positive aspects of their lives which they choose to focus on, Instead they beat you over the head with the direness of their existence.

Now let me be clear, there is a difference between endlessly complaining and sharing your problems with loved ones/friends. There is a difference between deciding to live in the quicksand you’re stuck in and searching for a way out. My issue is with those people who get off on the negativity, who choose to remain in the job they have without even making an attempt to find another one, who keep telling us how difficult it is to do something, without ever really making an attempt to resolve the issue facing them.

In my mind, most people have two choices. You either change your situation or you stop complaining about it. Don’t remind me every time I see you how miserable you are and then do nothing to try to correct it.  Again, I realize that not everything is that simple and some people have extenuating circumstances that may prevent them from making that choice but that’s not what, or who, this is about.

I’m reminded of the story about a guy who sits down with his friend at lunch and as he takes out his food, complains that everyday he has the same boring bologna sandwich. His friend tells him that he should ask his wife to make him something else, to which the guy replies, “I make my own sandwiches.”

Maya would have liked the bologna story.

36 thoughts on “No Complaining Here

  1. Anne Mehrling

    There was one bombshell in your post, and I want to know your secret. How can a complainer make you lose your appetite for sweets? I desperately need this information! Nothing, but nothing, keeps me from craving just the smell of chocolate. If I could manage to lose my intense desire for anything sugary, even for one day, I would be delighted.

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    1. George Post author

      I no longer work, work either but those people leave an indelible mark on you, and not in a good way. Yes, every office has at least or two.

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  2. joylovestravel

    Well said George, I feel exactly the same about those types. I also think too that they complain about things but it sometimes takes a life crisis, health issue etc. to make them realise maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. My mantra is to live one day at a time, make the most of each day and count its blessings and even in the worst circumstances there are plenty of those.

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    1. George Post author

      Lol…sorry, Kim. But it would have hit you in the face sooner rather than later. Those kind of people seek you out, especially after you’ve been gone for a while. They need to catch you up on their misery..:)

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  3. colinandray

    I would question your statement “most have people have two choices”. While I can appreciate the sensitivity and/or diplomacy behind it, I would suggest that everybody has at least two choices. Two initial choices are to do nothing, or to do something.
    If the choice to do nothing is dictated by other circumstances, then new choices present themselves such as adapt to the circumstances (appreciate what you do have rather than focus on what you do not have), or not adapt.
    If the latter is deemed necessary, then more choices present themselves such as accepting the potentially anti-social position you are taking with friends, or finding new friends (which actually only takes you on a decision making circle!).
    We all have so many choices as we go through life and deal with the inevitable issues that life confronts us with but, unfortunately, making choices involves accepting the responsibility for same choices. That commonly surfaces as a real problem, the solution to which is blame the world, your job, your boss, the traffic, the weather etc. etc. etc. In other words, I may justify my own negativity because I had nothing to with the circumstances I am in. I had no choice. WRONG!

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    1. George Post author

      I agree completely, Colin. I didn’t expand on it as you did because I was taking into consideration people whose choices are limited due to circumstance and I was being sensitive to those issues. But you’re right, everyone has a choice in how they live or approach their life regardless of where they are in life. It’s easier for those who don’t have those types of difficulties to make that statement but it doesn’t change the fact that choices and attitude are usually within our power. Usually.

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      1. Kim Gorman

        You’re right to be sensitive to people who don’t have choices at the moment. There are times in life where you really do just have to endure a situation for a time. It totally sucks. But you’re also correct that when it comes to our attitude, that is our choice. Though it’s easy when you’re feeling hopeless, helpless, and trapped to get mired in negative thinking. And once mired in it, it can spiral out of control. Negativity really is like a disease that spreads.

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  4. Lynn

    I think most of us have days where we complain about this or that, usually when life is presents us with overwhelming challenges. I am happy to listen to someone get things off of their chest, so to speak, but when the dialogue becomes an never ending spew of negativity & you find yourself having to muster up the energy to even have a conversation with a person, , it’s time to suggest an attitude adjustment! Great points George!

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    1. George Post author

      I feel the same way, Lynn. I will never turn someone away who needs to work something out, even if those conversations carry on for days or weeks. It’s those people who have no desire to make things better for themselves and just enjoy being miserable that gets to me.
      Thank you.

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  5. Jodi

    I’ve never heard that bologna story, but I literally laughed out loud when I read it. 🙂 Your message is right on. Don’t complain – change! If you can’t change what it is – change how you respond to it! Good advice dear George.

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  6. Svet Pavlovsky

    Someone said before me and I am just repeating what I believe it’s true “It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator”. That is why we have so much negativity around us…. To see something good in a situation requires an effort and sadly not everyone can do that. I always say you can’t control others but you can control how you react to the situation 🙂

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    1. George Post author

      You’re absolutely right, Svet. That’s great advice and so true about seeing something good and responding to it. We can each determine our choices and it costs us nothing.
      Thank you.

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  7. elkelorraine

    I also love the bologna story. I think that wraps up the point entirely. Love it. I was actually in the process of writing an article how we live in a world where bad news trumps good news especially in the media. These are the type of people who help that same situation.

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  8. jan

    I’ve had jobs that I really didn’t like but I liked the people I worked with. Sometimes you need to focus on the people around you and not on your own discomfort. Makes a world of difference.

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    1. George Post author

      You’re right Jan and I’ve been in the same situation. It’s always about the people you spend so much of your time with which is why I never minded listening. It’s when the listening turns to something more negative that it becomes stressful.

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  9. Ann Coleman

    I know exactly what you mean! I know far too many people who almost radiate negativity, and I find myself reacting to it as if they had an invisible, yet powerful, electric fence around them….I back away as quickly as I can! I am more than happy to listen when someone needs to vent occasionally, or someone is overwhelmed with a tragedy or problem and needs some sympathy, but that’s not the same as the people who are ALWAYS angry or upset about something, and yet do nothing to make the situation better. I honestly just can’t handle it, so I have learned to choose how I react to them by limiting my exposure to them as much as possible. I used to feel guilty about that, but eventually, I got over my guilt!

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    1. George Post author

      Yes, the guilt does go away quickly for me, too. I think some people just enjoy being miserable. Maybe they think it gives them an excuse for something they don’t want to do. I don’t know and I’ve given up trying to figure them out. It’s just too hard to deal with.

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  10. Diana

    My daughter, Gabriella, took me to see Maya Angelou when she was at BCC. The two hours flew by. I could have sat another two hours listening to her. I wonder what she would have thought about our state of the Union today.

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    1. George Post author

      Ahhh… That’s a good question, Diana. How sad that we can’t hear her thoughts about this sad state of affairs. I have no doubt she would have injected some real common sense and intelligence into something that had neither so far.
      What a treat you got to see her.
      Stay well.

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  11. roughwighting

    I love the bologna story. I know a number of people I’d like to share the bologna story with, but they’d never talk to me again. :-0 But in reality, I try to avoid those people who have nothing but complaints and whines. The glass IS always either half full or half empty. Choose your perception wisely. Mine? Topping off and overflowing. xo

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    1. George Post author

      That’s the attitude…:)
      But if you ever get to a point where you do t want those people speaking with you again, you can always pull out the Bologna story..:)

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  12. reocochran

    I loved Maya, will remember her voice and powerful messages, for all who want to make a better life, place and world.
    I read an article by someone like dear Abby. It said to distance yourself from those who drag you down. I was impressed by the lengths the author listed, from parents, from grown children and from lifelong friends! But, at the center of it was to give them up, to free yourself. I made the decision to divorce an “Eeyore” or Debbie Downer. I gave up a friend from 7th grade who my Mom didn’t like nearly 30 years before I did this. I hit a point in my fifties where surrounding myself with happy people made me believe I saved my Life, George!
    P.S. I like Pam’s overflowing glass, even better than a “half full” outlook! 🙂

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    1. George Post author

      I think the older we get the more we realize how important it is to have positive people around us. I also think, as you did, we more easily shed those negative people from our lives and don’t feel guilty doing so. I like Pam’s overflowing glass comment also. Why not think that way. Life is much too short.
      Thank you.

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