January 8, 2014

It’s Okay to Complain even though there are Starving Children in China. ~ Andrea Charpentier

Warning: naughty language ahead.

I am a pretty firm believer in: “Everything has a time and a place.” Generally speaking, most things can be put towards the betterment or detriment of one’s self, depending on how the action is taken.

This includes griping.

You know…




Stomping feet, crossing arms and frowning a lot.

So why is it that whenever a person does one of the above things (or a combination of) there’s bound to be another party present who feels it is their duty to contribute pearls of wisdom like, “Well, it could be worse,” or, “Count your blessings,” or the classic, “Don’t complain! Don’t you know there are starving children in China?!”

Yes, we know it could be worse; we are quite aware of our blessings; and yes, we know there are starving children in China, Africa and probably our hometown.

However, I don’t believe any of that means we are not allowed to blow off a little steam now and then.

I appreciate there are people out there who are quite aware of what they have and what others lack and as such can be sensitive about complaining over the little things. While this is an admirable trait, there is a happy medium to be discovered between being so grateful that one never complains about anything and someone who takes everything for granted and complains about it all.

Yes, I agree it’s tragic that there are people who don’t have enough to eat or a decent place to sleep, but this doesn’t mean one should feel guilty over griping about a broken A/C and the flakey landlord who is dodging the fix-it job.

Please, go ahead and gripe. It’s okay. It doesn’t make you an evil, spoiled American ingrate.

I know plenty of people who spend their life complaining about almost everything. All day is a continuous bitter drone about the too-long line at the grocery store, the gas pump being “Cash Only” on the way to the grocery store, the rude teller at the bank after leaving the grocery store, the waitress mistakenly bringing flat water instead of sparkling at lunch, not having enough change at the parking meter, the conspiracy the dog next door is plotting. All. Day. Long. I see how unhealthy it is, how stressful it is, how not fun it is. Negative Nancy’s will find a way to complain about something no matter what the circumstance. It’s their special talent. But damn! They’re ruining it for the rest of us!

Venting is healthy and good for one’s overall well-being. Dwelling? No. Worrying? No. Over-analyzing? No. But a release of pressure obtained from a quick five-minute rant is A-OK in my book and shouldn’t be discounted with, “Oh, get over it, life’s not that bad.” Aw, thanks—but we’re not idiots. We know life’s not that bad and we are grateful that we’re not starving and living on the streets and guess what: we’re still allowed to complain about the little annoyances we are currently dealing with in our lives.

Everyone has problems and everyone has a right to vent about their problems. It drives me bananas when, for example, a parent chastises their kid for complaining about the difficulty they’re having tying their shoes. “You think you have problems now! Just wait ‘til you’re older!” I promise: that five-year-old is just as entitled to feel frustrated over those gnarled laces as a twenty-something sweating over a parking ticket.

It’s a good thing to feel humble, to be aware and conscious of the heavier issues other people on this planet have to go through, but this doesn’t mean people with simpler issues aren’t allowed to have their frustrations as well, however insignificant they may seem to be.

So the next time someone quips, “Would you like some cheese with your whine?” grab a fork, dig in, and whine some more, mouth full and all. Go ahead and give yourself over to some guilt-free belly-aching!

What do you want to vent about?

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Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Flickr

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