Recently I discovered a pet peeve I didn’t know I had. It crept up on me slowly, even though as I’m sitting here thinking about it, the revelation should’ve come on sooner.
I’m allergic to people who whine. No seriously, I start to itch every time a chronic complainer starts talking or does a status update or just breathes because you just know they are silently complaining about all the toxins in the air. And have you noticed how chronic complainers always individualize their ‘issues’ as if no one in the world or history have experienced what they are experiencing? Somehow because they are experiencing them everyone needs to come to a standstill like we are all doing the #MannequinChallenge. *strike a pose*
The other day a chronic complainer on one of my social networks wrote this mini thesis on how tough their lives were, etc. and how because they form part of a certain segment of the population, their problems seemed to be double fold. And all I could think was, “Nope, that’s not true. You’re human. You have human problems, like everyone else.” Imagine saying that to a chronic complainer *bug eyed* They’d end up complaining about how insensitive you were.
So because I don’t want to be labeled as someone who’s insensitive (because I do have compassion for my fellow humans) I decided to reflect on why this annoyed me. Why someone ‘talking’ about their problems constantly makes my skin crawl and then break out into a rash (hey I told you I was allergic! *smile*).
I realized something profound that might not be so profound to anyone else, depending on where you are in the world or your human development.
My people (the Coloured people of South Africa) don’t have a legacy of complaining. During Apartheid you’d have a tough time finding them and black people of SA complaining in public about their oppressive circumstances. It takes absolute freedom to complain. It takes a certain level of entitlement to complain. You have to know that when you open your mouth no one will throw you in jail or kill you. So my people, generally, created a culture of not giving voice to the issues that really mattered to them. And no it wasn’t just my people who suffered in silence, various groups in SA did.
I grew up learning that when you are going to complain about something, make sure it’s something worthwhile because that action might come back to haunt you.
And that legacy is hard to shake. If I’m going to complain I have to consider how it will affect every aspect of my life. No I will not just call a waiter over to complain about bad service before my meal get to the table. Nah ah I’m not taking that chance.
Social media hasn’t really helped with this pet peeve, if anything; it only made my allergy worse. I’ve literally ignored people online just because I couldn’t stomach the complaining anymore. Goodness, we get it, life is hard. It’s really hard. And for certain people in the world, right now, especially when I think of the recent headlines in the news, it is really tough. So you complaining about a dishwasher, or stubbing your toe, do seem trivial. And I’m not referring to that random once in a blue moon status update we all make. I’m referring to that chronic complainer who on a daily basis seems to be at the end of their rope. Like if just one thing should happen they will pack it all up and move to Mars because Earth just sucks.
It does seem contrite to say count your blessings…but it actually works. My grandmother used to sing, “Count your blessings name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” Every now and then when life becomes hard (like it does for us all) I start counting the good things/people that are in my life. Things I’m happy for, for that day. I deliberately focus on the positive. And yes sometimes that’s not easy to do.
There are so many things none of us have control over, being a chronic complainer isn’t one of them.