complaints, revisited

I like asking myself


to help me work around my own brain’s tendency to justify thoughts (and therefore behavior) that is not really in my best interest.

Different questions, for different circumstances.
This topic is going to be about complaints.
As always, this is stuff that I find useful to use to guide my own behavior; I do not hold anyone else accountable to this.
I am sharing it in case someone else finds utility in some of my words- nothing more.
As with many other concepts, I’ve begun thinking of complaints rather… broadly.
To help me make a determination as to whether or not something I’ve said, or am considering saying, is a thing which I would classify as a complaint, I ask myself questions like:
“What am I trying to achieve?”
“What do I think is going to be the most likely result? The best possible, even if unlikely?”
Ex: I’ve told a few people about some health stuff I have going on, over the past few days. I am already doing everything I can to take care of it, so I’m not in position where I need encouragement to take care of things. I’m at a point where the only people who can really advise me on next steps are medical professionals.
In each case, my brain came up with reasons it was appropriate to share, at the time.
And in each case, I realized after the fact that what I had actually achieved was something more like a sharing out of my stress to others.
Sometimes we need this; I am not trying to make anyone feel uncomfortable with seeking out a empathetic ear when in need!
But I did not need that, and realized that making other people feel bad on my account had actually made me feel worse, not better.
This kind of ties into the


topic, in my mind.

I believe that people, by and large, want to make things better when we see others in pain, in hardship.
So when we take to Twitter or conversations with family and bring up things they cannot help with, what we achieve is experiencing a reduction in the internal pressure we’re feeling, by sharing it with those around us.
How it affects those people we share it with, I believe is difficult to assess. That’s the kind of thing I mean when I refer to things like ‘area damage’, or negativity being….messy.
When we are conscious of what we’re doing, and why, we become much more able to predict results.
If we do need a sympathetic ear, and we’re aware of that, we can then approach someone to discuss things with who seems stable enough in their own life to listen without it affecting them severely.
But if we go to anyone, we might end up adding just the right amount of stress to a person that was already in a fragile enough place that it tips the course of their day into a downward slide that may be difficult for them to recover from.
Most frequently, I feel like we express negativity when we could be doing something else about it, but aren’t.
Lack of awareness of other options, or lack of awareness of the factors motivating our own actions.
If I don’t need a sympathetic ear, advice, or encouragement – then, personally, I believe that I should not be airing my problems to other people.
I have a wide range of activities (from going for walks or practicing self-care, to learning new tasks or writing about unrelated topics) that I have experimented enough with to I know I can get myself back to feeling good when I am not…with a bit of work.
I have no need to burden others with problems they have no ability to solve.
To clarify, I absolutely do not consider solicitations for advice, or encouragement, as complaints.
On the contrary: I believe that is one of the most underappreciated aspects of this globally connected society in which we live.
Not sure how to proceed? Someone else has likely been there already.
And if not, discussing problems with a mind open to solutions might be just the thing we need to realize a solution that might have been hiding just under our noses.
Nuance, and balance- I have become much more willing to seek advice when I am in need of it, at the same time as I’ve become more aware of when my brain is trying to trick me into thinking I need help, when I do not.


I spent three years living on the street in Los Angeles. I came out of that, changed. This is my story.

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