Have you ever felt you should always let people know when you are not pleased with their actions? Did you think you would just be expressing your reservations? As simple as it may seem to you, it may be a nightmare for the person you will direct your ‘concerns’ at? When we are told not to complain, it’s not for us to pretend things are alright it is because complaining is not just expressing your reservation it is expressing your personal displeasure at someone else’s expense.
Let’s look at the distinctions.
Reservation goes this way: I will prefer; May I have…
Complaining goes this way: You never do this well…; Can’t you even…
Correction goes this way: This is good but can be done better this way.
I hope you got it clearer now. You can’t be complaining and expect the hearer to take it lightly or with excitement. No one likes complaining because it makes them appear incompetent or inadequate. It brews insecurity in people and consequently disinterest or disfavour towards the complainer.
We are encouraged to express our reservation and not our irritations. While it is important for us to be able to say what we want, we shouldn’t do it while making someone else feel terrible.
When we learn how to approach others with grace and tactfulness, we will receive much more than we bargain for because they will willingly go out of their way to attend to our concerns. Many of us believe we have a right to express ourselves, to ‘say it like it is’ under the guise of being sincere. However, no matter what our intentions may be, we are not permitted to hurt others.
The plain truth is that complaining is ‘finding fault’ with others. It is about picking out the not so nice things about them or what they do. Nobody likes that or even deserves that. It is important we bear this in mind. Complaining does not just show how bad we feel; on the contrary it shows how bad we make others feel.
Complaining is telling people they are not good enough. No one will ever be motivated by that to do better. They will either behave worse or rebel because they don’t feel good or they will put up an act if they can’t get to avoid you.
Therefore, let’s be more empathetic and considerate in expressing our concerns. Of course, there should be room for correcting those whose work or lives we oversee. Correction points out how things should be done and not just what others have got wrong.
Rebuke is chastising people for the wrong they have done. It must be clear that this is a disciplinary act for misbehaviour and not about personal displeasure. Complaining attacks the esteem of its target. It places emphasis not really on what is not done right but on who is not doing things right. Correction on the other hand focuses on the subject matter not the person involved. This is why correction takes time to acknowledge the person involved, commend their efforts before pointing out improvement or adjustments to be made.
We all need to work on these areas of our lives. I have had great struggles here myself, close to being a perfectionist. However I have had to learn and keep learning about how to be sensitive to people’s feelings while getting necessary things done. Complaining reveals our shortcoming, impatience, intolerance, biases, prejudice, opaqueness, ignorance, etc. much more than it reveals the ineptitude of another.
We all can and will do better if we put in more efforts in eschewing complaining and where necessary to replace complaining with correction. Things will get better for us and our relationships if we start to take responsibility for our shortcoming rather than indulge in excuses.
There’s a more fulfilling life for you out there, reach for it!