The Art of Gratitude vs the Art of Complaining

Zola By Zola, 1st Jan 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1y3x541o/
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Mind & Spirit>Work Issues & Stress

Life is not easy. Nor straightforward. Still, there is so much to be grateful for. Why, then, do people moan so much?

Complaining

Today, almost everyone is unhappy about something: personal relationship, job - or lack of one, financial situation, social status. OK, times are tough, but have they ever been easy? We all have something to complain about, and we do, but if we only stopped to think, we would see that there is even more to be grateful for. The trouble is, we seem to place too much attention of what we don't have, rather than on what we do. And so, instead of cultivating gratitude, many people cultivate envy and feelings of discontent.

Anyone who lived in developing countries will tell you with how little people manage to make ends meet and how grateful they are for what little they have: their families, their homes, their lives. Poor by Western standards, they are "millionaires" when it comes to emotional and spiritual contentment: they laugh more than we do, they are more relaxed, they have healthy family relations, are rarely severely depressed, and generally lead much happier lives. It seems that to them, thankfulness comes naturally. Those who have so little, will always find something to be grateful for.

So what is it about developed societies that drives people to complain so much?

Are you ambitious enough?

Life has become complicating and frantic. Stress and busy lifestyle often take over our lives and deprive us of all the joy, positive thoughts and energy. Some stress can hardly be avoided and all we can do is try to cope as best we can. But, there is also the other kind of stress - pressure that over-ambitious people put on themselves and their families.

Life in urban jungles where concentration of ambition-driven people is high, creates competitiveness which only adds to the already stressful lifestyle. Ambition is great to get you started in a career, but it seems so few people know when to stop. Or perhaps they can't.

In some cultures, ambition is actively encouraged from an early age. As a driving force behind scientific development it's a good thing, but some people set goals they can't possibly meet, or even worse, they have their life goals set for them. Some invest so much energy into wealth creation, that when they finally realize they are missing out on life, it is often too late. So they start complaining of their employers, of missed opportunities in life, of society in general.

Besides, our aggressive and consumerist society has turned us into people with an inner voice that constantly nags us that we deserve more and better (regardless of how much we already have).

So many of us seem to have been brainwashed to desire things we don't really need. Those who can't afford certain things feel they are deprived of status or power. And sadly, so many people seem to measure their happiness with how much they have. And they constantly complain of not having enough. What I often feel like asking these people is "How much would be enough for you"?

Rowing through life

But, the most irritating complainers are those to whom complaining is a part of their "image". They seem to think they are charming and entertaining. We all know these attention-seekers who constantly complain of everything and anything. Perhaps if they stopped complaining they would have nothing to say...

Many people believe they have nothing to be grateful for, although they can quickly come up with a long list of things they are NOT happy with. On days when I feel low, I always encourage myself to make a list of at least five things I should be grateful for on that particular day. At first it was hard. But, once I trained myself to look at life from a different angle, my "gratitude" list is now much longer than my "sadness" list.

We all have something to be grateful for. After all, it's small things in life that matter. We should count our blessings rather than dwell on things other have and we don't. Being consumed with envy or over-ambition is such a waste of time.

As Caroline Myss so beautifully put it; "The trick of happiness in life is to learn to row the boat you've been given".





Image credits: Dreamstime

Tags

Ambition, Complaining, Grateful, Gratitude, Happiness, Lifestyle, Moaning, Stress, Thankfulness

Meet the author

author avatar Zola
Nature-lover, free-lance consultant, environmental activist.
I have many interests, which include travel, health, Eastern philosophies, astrology.

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
2nd Jan 2014 (#)

perhaps Zola they have nothing better to do!!!! but also negativity thrives here on this planet of ours...not for all of us thank the Lord...happy New Year to you my friend...

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author avatar Zola
3rd Jan 2014 (#)

Thanks Carols. Yes, there is a lot of negativity around, but one has to try and see the good side of life.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
2nd Jan 2014 (#)

There is a kind of joy in being negative -- ask some very famous comedians. And misery loves company. Still, I get and respect the point you are trying to make, and am glad you are setting a positive example for your life. May you continue to be a shining example for others.

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author avatar Zola
3rd Jan 2014 (#)

Thanks Phyl. One has to try and stay positive, especially during tough times.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
3rd Jan 2014 (#)

Thanks Zola, we have to count our blessings everyday. We should start the day conscious of being alive and healthy.There is the old tale of a farmer always on the complaining mode about the weather. One year it was perfect and he committed suicide as he could not indulge in his usual topic! I recall Gandhi's words - we have everything for our needs but not the greed - siva

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author avatar Zola
3rd Jan 2014 (#)

Thanks for your wise words Siva. Isn't it funny how little human nature changes through time? Some issues have been around as long as has human race.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
12th Jan 2014 (#)

Yes, Zola. We tend to get carried away by glitzy gadgets and take it as a measure of our progress. They are only a means to an end. Enduring progress is through how we move up the ladder in understanding, nurturing, life through unity in diversity - siva

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