An Entitled Life:
Many of us might have seen that funny Millennial job interview video where a seemingly narcissistic, over indulgent and entitled young woman is being interviewed by an older gentleman. That video is hilarious because it shows us how we think of Millennials – as this group of people who’re so ingrate that they don’t understand how great their lives are compared to older generations. After all, our parents and grandparents have done just fine with far less resources in much more adverse circumstances.
A Millennial Job Interview:
Our Culture Of Complaint:
Make no mistake, this problem of fussing and grumbling over little things is not just a Millennial one. One look at armchair activists and their keyboard courage will tell how as a world we’ve become a culture that’s keen on expressing displeasure at any and every cause that’s picked up on the internet on a daily basis.
If we’re not writing open letters to open letters, and angry over something, then somehow we are complacent and OK with status quo. And, that’s how society wants us to be, always in the victim mindset and ready to be outraged at the smallest provocation. Writing an open letter is empowering and that’s also part of the lure. After all, millennials voice any frustrations they have with the system or the society through the internet and social media. Whatever we need – better working hours, we want to make an impact, or receive free breakfast for every hotel stay, protesting online ensures a wider audience and higher chances for change.
And, here’s my disclaimer. I’m by no means addressing marginalized communities, or those who’re clinically depressed or those of us who’re in situations that are dangerous. There are people who’re genuinely suffering, are not in a position to help themselves and must be helped at any cost. In such cases, words like “Just snap out of your sadness”, “It is just a phase”, “You cannot let your folks down” are just outright unwarranted and harmful advice. I am not advocating for anyone to learn to endure if you’re being abused and violated in any way.
How We Self Sabotage Ourselves:
There are so many things to be complaining about these days. As Covid becomes our rite of passage and we navigate these uncertain times, we’re often finding ourselves throwing up our hands in despair. Our offices and our schools don’t have a return date. We have too much to do around the house, we don’t know when things will get back to normal, we don’t even know what the new normal will look like and so on.
Even our kids are complaining. They’re bored, they stomach hurts, they’re falling off bikes we are forcing them to ride so they are outdoors for a few minutes a day. But no one will call us out on too much complaining, because what an else can we do, right?
Some might even argue that complaining is the cost of caring too much. “Should we lively passively even when we should be outraged over what’s going on in the world?”
And here’s another thing. What a parent might feel is his enduring love might be his intolerable “encouragement” to help his children do better. Everyone in this case has a complaint, dad – worried about his child not reaching is potential, and child – being constantly pushed to his limits with unreasonable expectations.
What Happens When We Complain:
The truth is that we all complain because it’s the easiest thing to do. All we can then do is to take the effort to express our displeasure and not worry about doing anything about it.
But, let’s look at what complaining does to us. Its makes us low performers. Because we get frustrated and irritated with having such low thresholds for our tolerance levels.
When we’re busy airing our plight, expressing our discontent and showcasing our grievances, we’re also silently delegating our power to those problems we’re fighting. We are handing over our sovereignty which is why we start feeling powerless.
And, what we don’t seem to remember is, for any situation we have two choices. Either fuss over our scarcity and let cynicism paralyze us out of acting or understand that we can try our best in the face of adversity.
Complaint-Oriented Or Action-Oriented?
Sometimes there are conditions that society sets on us as expectations. Because of how society looks at beauty standards, some of us don’t like our hair, we are not satisfied with our crooked noses, and almost all of us feel a compelling need to lose weight.
But, ever wonder how some people always seem to be able to see the bright side of things? As if they are able to squeeze the last drop of that lemonade from all the lemons life has given them?
The reality is they’ve simply understood the two key aspects of life. One that things happen, sometimes mostly out of our control and there’s nothing we can do about it. And we can either throw our arms up in despair or take whatever little action we could to make a difference.
Does all this “Don’t complain, figure things out” talk is making you think that we must somehow be foolishly optimistic about our circumstances?
No, in fact, being overly optimistic is usually mistaken for naivety, and in the worst case, for arrogance.
Start By Reframing Your Reality:
For instance, Covid is not normal, and it’s OK to feel “not normal”. Any action to reframe our current reality to feel positive and hopeful can lead us a place of purpose and meaning.
And in your journey, here are some helpful thoughts to replace the complaint-oriented thoughts we might have.
1. This situation will eventually change.
2. I’m going to think solutions, not problems.
3. I will reframe my reality and take a positive perspective.
Choose To Do What Matters:
Here’s a cold fact. Even your mom doesn’t owe you anything. Once that deep truth sinks in, we realize we’re on our own to pick ourselves off when we fall and there’s no scope of finding fault in others for our misfortunes. We must embrace challenges, and double down on our efforts after failures. We must double down our frustrations with action and use it as momentum to move forward.
So, next time you feel like cursing the traffic in front of you, or complaining that the room is too cold, think again. In the time span of evolution of 50 million years for mankind, our lifespan on this earth is infinitesimal. Remember, our perspective is our choice. And who wants to be around energy vampires who complain and whine all the time anyway??
Before this essay itself feels like a lengthy complaint about complaining, I will stop. LOL.
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NOTE: Picture Copyright: 2020 Zabed Hasnain Chowdhury forward slash Sipa USA via AP Images