Complaining Frances Maya Angelou Podcast TTT Sarah Ahmadi

Episode 28: Should We Complain?

Welcome to Tea, Toast and Trivia.

Thank you for listening in.

I am joined by my mother, Frances, and my sister, Sarah, to discuss the question – Should we complain?

According to many sources – and you know that there are many sources found in a google search –  complaining is detrimental. One article noted that research clearly indicates that listening to complaints of any kind, including venting our personal grievances, will produce a downward trend in our emotional outlook.  Another article warned that complaining could alter our brain.  YIKES!    Why then, do we indulge in complaining?

Should we put on our “happy face” and ignore problems, avoid them, dismiss them?    Put the kettle on and join in the conversation.  We would love to hear your thoughts on

I am your host Rebecca Budd and I’m looking forward to sharing this moment with you.

Thank you for joining Frances, Sarah and me on Tea Toast & Trivia.  Embracing our moments with gratitude is a choice that will open the pathway to graciously acknowledging concerns and seeking positive outcomes – not only for ourselves but for our families, friends, and communities, both local and global.

One last thought comes from Maya Angelou.  “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.”

So, until next time, dear friends, safe travels wherever your adventures take you.

By Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

17 replies on “Episode 28: Should We Complain?”

You are tackling a tricky subject today. I think there is room for official complaints or formal complaints because these imply that there may be a solution or a possibility of positive change/outcome. But really I would rather we didn’t actually get to a complaint stage. I would rather we could sit together, like the three of you, and work things out.

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I agree – authentic conversations are invaluable. Working through complex and difficult situations is life-affirming. The question remains, why do we persist in complaining? There is varied opinion about the pros and cons about complaining, But what I have come to see is that we need a definition before we engage in any discussion. And then there is the issue of what is called the “wicked problem” which is a “social or cultural problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems.” When complaining about poverty or equaling sharing vital resources within a global community, it is easy complain and point fingers. I love your thought about not “getting to a complaint stage.” This is the key to active and joyful participation. Resolving problems is so much more fun than complaining. Many hugs!!!

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Good subject…! Unfortunately the word “complain” has become a sort of generic term for (pardon my French) bitching, One cannot just disagree, without some form of objection or critic, which in and of itself constitute “complaint” or a form thereof…Whatever, “a rose is a rose, by any other name, and one can suppose is a complaint.
Complaining as Lady Gallivanta suggests, there is room it, and has its most definite place, as an important language element, as any other expression, properly used. So in my books, again properly used, to suggest don’t complain, is a no-no.
Without complaint, for an appropriate present day example, how would we rid ourselves of bad governments, or prevent a bad new governments as a replacement? We have responsible needs to complain so as to encourage fellow members of our society to gather and unite in force for needed change of elements no longer functioning, who will not change of their own volition.
As I see it, to change how we see them, cannot change how they are.
So I say… We Should Complain…! Absolutely so, when there is no alternative, save absolutely necessary, for all the reasons you state, Rebecca, as in poverty etc., societal and governmental unjust laws won over by powerful lobby’s of industry and commerce, and the list goes on.
To end of a less serious note, as my best friend, an Italian gentleman, would say about not being able to complain…this would be like an Italian person being unable to speak , if his hands were tied behind his back!

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How very very well said. I have found that a tactic for silencing a valid concern or a different opinion, is to say that a person who shares a “concern” is a “complainer.” When someone presents a case, without a hidden agenda, that has been thoroughly researched and offers valid solutions and alternatives, it is clearly an opening for a life-affirming conversation. I go back to dear Aristotle, who noted centuries before us that “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” We may not always agree, but isn’t that the point? When we come together ready to participate in good faith, marvelous things happen. Together, we may find a better alternative. Thank you again for adding your insights to this important discussion. Very much appreciated.

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As you say at the end of your podcast: love, grace, hope, joy and gratitude should preface voicing our concerns, known negatively as complaints. In our era of overwhelming negative social media (and mainstream media) these positive attitudes are more likely to produce the change our ‘complaints’ elicit. This truly does involve our moment-to-moment decisions about voicing our concerns, as you remark. You thoughtfully distinguish between a complaining attitude and one of concern which looks for solution. What a wonderful podcast, so inspiring. Thank you once again. Please thank your sister for reminding us of Viktor Frankl’s book I’ve intended to read for so very long, which I assume is Man’s Search For Meaning. Many thanks to your mother for her continued wisdom and compassion. Hugs for all!!!

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And we are all are sending hugs back to you. Your comments mean a great deal to us! You mention the mainstream media, which made me smile because it was when I was listening and reading the chaotic news, that I said to myself, “Why don’t I create news?” If I don’t like the anxiety-drivers discussions and bickering, then I should start a conversation that promotes love, grace, hope and joy. We live in a perilously divided world that demands our highest and best participation. The best place to begin is with our stories. One of my most favourite quotes (I always get goosebumps when I read it) is by Richard Wagamese: Are you ready to feel goosebumps!

“All that we are is story. From the moment we are born to the time we continue on our spirit journey, we are involved in the creation of the story of our time here. It is what we arrive with. It is all we leave behind. We are not the things we accumulate. We are not the things we deem important. We are story. All of us. What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we’re here; you, me, us, together. When we can do that and we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship – we change the world, one story at a time…”

Thank you again for sharing your insights.

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The thoughts you’ve expressed here (and the Richard Wagamese quote) are precisely why I am such a huge fan of Appreciative Inquiry: where we end up is determined by the questions that we ask and the language we use to frame them: I’ve found that sitting in a room with people discussing how to fix a problem puts my thinking in a box and slams the lid shut with no way to get out. Once the problem is replaced with a goal, the creativity and synergy can begin to flow. On a personal level, “venting” very quickly devolves into perseveration and a downward spiral. I have to guard myself against the spiral.

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Oh how very very well said: “puts my thinking in a box and slams the lid shut with no way to get out.” Thank you for the link to Appreciative Inquiry – brilliant information that I am eager to explore. The core principles of AI: Constructionist, Simultaneity, Anticipatory, Poetic and Positive create a foundation that allows for conversations that feed the spirit and energize/spark the creative thought. You have reminded me of a quote by Mary Parker Follett: “Give your difference, welcome my difference, unify all difference in the larger whole – such is the law of growth. The unifying of difference is the eternal process of life – the creative synthesis, the highest act of creation, the at-onement.” Thank you for sharing your vibrant insights!!!!

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You three are such a great team – love it! And what a fascinating subject to tackle. I was particularly interested to listen in today because I have been wondering whether to raise an issue with our neighbour. I’m going to leave it for now and reflect on whether it really is necessary to say anything. Thank you all for such helpful words and such entertaining conversation! x

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Oh Liz! I have experienced the same thing with regard to neighbourhood relationships. As you know, I have a “immediate response” type of personality. I am learning that reflection and taking deep deep deep breaths allows more clarity. And did I mention that I have to take several deep breaths. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Deep breaths and a pause for reflection are definitely good things. I too am a ‘let’s get this sorted’ type of person, which is not always the right approach! We continue to learn and grow…. 😀

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