The Art of Not Complaining

I asked her, “How are you doing?”

She said, “I have no complaints. You know, there is no need to complain, I am blessed.” 

Coming from anyone this would be a refreshing and welcoming comment, but coming from a great-grandmother it’s infinitely more inspiring. It is a simple but deep answer to an open ended question that merits more discussion and reflection.

As I looked at her with excitement to hear what else she would share, I realized that the simplicity of her answer was as important as the answer itself. In it was wisdom, truth and all the results of lived experiences, which she could easily say, had brought her back to basics.

As she reminisced about the past and remembered all of the wonderful teachings of her late mother, and the wisdom imparted by her late father when she was a young girl, I started thinking of how important it is to plant the right seeds in our children. The seeds that allow them to appreciate simplicity, to be in gratitude and to not waiver from these time tested beliefs.

What she wasn’t saying with words, but instead was embodying in her demeanor and presence, was that complaining takes us away from the present. It strips us from being grateful, and it creates negative thoughts and feelings about the challenges and lessons learned. By complaining, we are missing the point. By complaining we are straying from trust. By complaining we are feeding our story which means we are feeding our ego.

So, this simple but powerful wisdom that I had just learned over Turkish coffee, was imprinted on my soul, equally for its message as for the appreciation of the person who was imparting it. She is a great-grandmother who has lived a long life, created a beautiful legacy with her distinguished family, experienced happiness and loss and who could now say, with certainty, “I can’t complain” and actually mean it.

How often do we reflect on what is truly important to us?

When we do so, we create an opportunity for reflection and perspective and we always end in gratitude. 

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