A Glimpse Into My Life

See it through my eyes & understand me a little more

You Shouldn’t Complain!

That’s probably the phrase I have heard in life that I dislike the most. When people say it, even with their best intentions, it’s almost as though they brush your feelings of a particular situation to the side. The phrase that goes hand-in-hand with it is, “But it’s all in your head.”

What does it mean to complain? According to the Merriam-Webster Online, it means two things:

  1. to express grief, pain or discontent
  2. to make a formal accusation or charge

After reading this very simple definition, I decided to look up the etymology (the history) of the word and found that it meant “to lament,” and to speak of something “from the breast.”

For a moment, I was a little upset. I thought to myself, “Why are there people who say you shouldn’t complain? Do they even know it means something this simple?” The more I thought about it, the more agitated I became. After about 15 minutes, I decided to make this my morning topic. For 30 minutes, I would write about my feelings on a person’s right to complain.

To start with, know that I believe every person has the right to express their feelings of their current position in life. A person’s feelings about their reality are valid and should be respected as such. Period. 

For me, it’s simple. It’s point blank. It’s black and white. It’s your life, you live it and you can express your feelings about it. What I can do is help you try to find a solution but I’ll never knock what you bring to me. Why? Because there are many times I feel I can’t even express how I really feel about something without being told to “suck it up” or “it’s all in my mind.” Right now, I’m a jumbled ball of feelings thinking about a conversation I’ve had with a person where my concerns were dismissed. It was hurtful.

I finally get why.

To say to someone that they shouldn’t complain about something is dismissive. To say to someone that it’s all in his or her heads (or minds) is ultimately disrespectful.

I get that many people who express their dissatisfaction of hearing others complain simply want them to see it from a different angle, but have you thought that maybe they need to get that out before they can?

Have you thought that maybe the person trusted you enough with their experience of life to be imperfect and share their dissatisfaction only to be reprimanded about an emotion and observation?

Have you thought that maybe by sharing that they are unhappy they are trying to find another way to experience life? That this is their way of asking for your help?

Or are you too self-absorbed, too self-reliant, too evolved, too “loving” to acknowledge that sometimes people have bad days and that’s okay?

Are you so happy that you can’t be bothered with another expression of human existence?

Are you so mentally stable that you can’t fathom why someone would think a particular way about a trial they are facing?

I wish people understood that when a person’s feelings are dismissed as irrational, childish or unnecessary, you have served to do more harm than the good you wish to do by helping them to see a bright side. Instead of telling people they have no room to complain, we should start our conversations of loving grace with something that lets them know we understand why they would feel the way they do and we accept them in that moment.


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