Chronic Complaining

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in a discussion about chronic complaining on HuffPostLive. (Here’s a link if you missed it.)

I thought a lot about why people complain. As was discussed in the conversation, women seem to do the most complaining, but men aren’t immune. It seems we’ve become a nation of complainers.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono /

I don’t think we are bad people. We all want to be the best we can be with what we have at hand.

But, we have everyone and everything conspiring against us, telling us we are never enough and never will be without buying whatever product they are hawking.

For instance, we are being told that we might see Mr. Right, but we won’t meet him if our teeth aren’t white enough. So people everywhere are walking around with nuclear white teeth. That’s not normal. According to my dental hygienist you don’t want your teeth to be whiter than the whites of your eyes. It seems like a good rule of thumb and more people should take her advice.

A cereal seller tells us that we are fabulous and amazing, but will be even better when we eat their product for two weeks and lose an inch. Really, I’m amazing…with constraints? What does that even mean? How many people are rushing out to start the cereal diet because it’s almost swimsuit season?

You can’t wear a swimsuit unless you have a perfect body. Of course any diet company will be happy to tell you how to get that body by purchasing their programs, their foods, their products, and blaming any failure on the consumer. And we listen, completely ignoring the “results not typical” lines flashing by at the speed of light. They don’t want us to know that long-term weight loss is a myth.

Men will get women and cars if they drink certain types of alcohol. They get better jobs if they carry a certain cell phone. They’ve known a long time that the perfect car is the answer to all their life desires.

Mothers know that it’s the juice you serve and the vitamins you stock that measure your worthiness of raising a child.

See, it’s everywhere. We’re never allowed to just content, be happy, be responsible, be frugal. We’re always being told that by not spending, buying new, buying often, buying the right thing we will never be happy.

So the right answer to solving the nation’s complaining problem is to stop listening to the advertisers. They do not have our best interests at heart. Not even medical studies are immune from influence when they are being funded by the very corporations that benefit from them. Turn off the commercials. Stop reading magazines. Ignore the ads cluttering up your email screen.

Despite what we have drilled into our psyches day in and day out, what matters is what’s on the inside. Try being genuine and kind. Helping a neighbor will always beat the type of flooring you have in your home. Learn what out of control consumerism does to our resources. What are we doing to our environment with our more more more lifestyles?

People benefit from our constant complaining. Yes, the people who are getting rich on our dissatisfaction that we didn’t know we had until they told us. What a vicious circle…


4 thoughts on “Chronic Complaining

  1. Great post and great point. I am have been thinking a lot about this too because I honestly think I inherited my complaining from my mother. I don’t want to be that person so I have made an effort to change it. Interestingly, when I did this I noticed I felt like I had less to complain about. Complaints beget more complaints.

  2. You are right on point on this one!!! Good post!!
    Oh, one question… You were not complaining about those who make us/lead us to complain were you? JUST TEASING!! ;-))
    Really do think this a spot on post!

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