“Stop complaining and count your blessings” – this sentence used to drive me crazy for a very long time, so here I am trying to figure out why.
My analytical mind does not really appreciate the concept of “either/or” – in a case where “and” fits naturally. After all, it is a multitasking era, and we live in a free country, so why not do both: “complain and count my blessings”? Being blessed with good health and unbelievable friends certainly warrants counting, but suffering financial loss, going through midlife crisis, worrying about kids, having a favorite dress ruined, or even being unable to touch your toes in a yoga class – they all cause us grief, pain or discontent. All these feelings can be freely expressed, of course (remember the free country premise we started with? ) and therefore they are perfectly legitimate reasons to complain! (According to Merriam-Webster dictionary “to complain” is “to express pain, grief or discontent”).
After a while, I realized that those who are advocating “non complaining”, especially in personal conversations, are usually just expressing their grief about having to hear the complain – complain about the complain, in this obscure way. If they could follow their own logic, they would feel blessed that another person is confiding in them and sharing her feelings – but for some reason this is not as easy as to complain and brush it off. Seriously speaking though, this intolerance to others complaining can be based on many factors: fear, that the same might happen to the non-complainer, feeling of impotence - due to inability to help, great difficulty in relating to the feeling of another, unless relating to her actual problems.
To conclude, I’d suggest – “Complain away AND count your blessings!”. I’d even advocate instituting a national holiday, say Griefgiving – with vegan meals and no parades, just a time for quite contemplation and, yes, complaining.