I've come to observe a number of people in my life who complain a great deal.
Their circumstances may change, and the specifics of the complaints, but overall, they complain to about the same degree on a regular basis.
It appears to me that they've been habituated to complain - even when all is well they'll use their creative abilities to find things to complain about.
They have what I've come to realise is a particular SOB or 'State of Being' that involves a degree of anxiety, powerlessness, blame and (what we Australians call) whinging.
Their state of being involves a sense of dissatisfaction with life.
Andy typically, although not entirely, I've observed this behaviour in women.
Why is that?
I think most of all, older (baby-boomer) women have been socialised to be 'feminine' — passive, accepting, nurturing and dependent on the male partners.
That bias required a denial of their masculine within — a denial of their assertive, functional, powerful can-do abilities — which has habituated a deep sense of powerlessness and dissatisfaction with life. In short, they don't take responsibility for their lives, instead blaming others for their unhappy state of being.
In the process of complaining and blaming they damage and diminish the joyful, powerful spirit within themselves and those around them. Their blaming brings a heaviness to the air that sucks the life out of what otherwise would be wonderfully pleasant, enjoyable circumstances. As the Belief Doctor I've been assiduously studying this effect upon my psyche — and it has occurred to me as a 'sensitive writer' that it has had an enormously negative impact. Enormous.1
It seems to me that the antidote, for those who blame, is to engage their masculine-within, beginning with owning their lives, taking responsibility for their circumstances, asserting boundaries!2, rambunctiously affirming their value and power to make a positive contribution to their own lives, and that of their communities, without complaining or blaming.
But it's not only women who seek to diminish and damage others ... many men I've known attempt to 'control conversations and those around them through subtle, but sneaky methods. Primarily I have observed the male penchant to 'control' conversations by putting down the opponent.
Recently I had a vigorous discussion with 'John' (not his real name). Whereas I was keen to argue the philosophical dimensions to an idea, he routinely would tell me how I, not the idea, was wrong ... that I was being a this or a that — that I was stuck in my head, or talking from my ego (how can you not?). The idea itself wasn't discussed, at least from his perspective.
This "playing the man and not the ball" was quite amazing to observe. Men can attempt to control conversations by 'sledging' or belittling their opponents. Another method was often used by a friend who, in response to my disagreeing with him, would counter "you're being defensive" (implying I was weak, frightened, insecure — for disagreeing). Another gem was "you're projecting" (implying I was in the wrong, not the idea). Yet another, quite sneaky one, is (in response to my world-views and comments) 'you're trying to fix people' — implying that I treat people as machines? or that one shouldn't seek betterment in local and global circumstances? 'Mend', 'fix', 'heal', 'improve', better', 'evolve', 'grow' and 'teach' are words I use synonymously, as expressions of my intent, passion and energy. If I'm wrong for seeking to improve the quality of life for one and all by improving or teaching better understanding, and more congruent world-views, then so be it.3
This got me thinking as to what was really going on for both men and women, and I recognised it as the common element of denied individuality.
Women will blame others, men will 'put down' others, but in the end it's about controlling their (quite little) space to serve and protect themselves and their denied, withered individualities.
What's the solution? ... we can 'mend' this denial by living large, by rambunctiously relearning how to be fully-emotional, powerful, active, 'forceful', loving beings.
After all, it's all God, all good, including the noise, selfish-egos, busy-ness and chaos. It's a participatory universe: it's self-organising and evolving, and we're as much guided and controlled by it, as guiding and creating it!
I'm intuitively reminded of Marianne Williamson's beautiful words4:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Like attracts like
All of this got me thinking, about how our egos (identities) are comforted, assuaged and validated by like-minded people. It's that tribal thing, again.
I've seen it within myself and others, that we tend to want others to be like us ... and so we seek to keep them or change them to be like us.
So, I'm starting to realise that:
- if we're "small-minded" and fearful, we'll seek those dear to us to be similarly small-minded and fearful,
- if we're expansive and outgoing, then we'll champion opportunity and engage communication with others,
- if we're pessimistic and depressed, then we'll hang round with so-called 'losers' who reinforce those attitudes
- if we're enthusiastic and optimistic, then we'll encourage others to be entrepreneurial and resourceful
- if we're childish and immature, then we'll seek authority-figures to guide our tribe, our group ...
All within reflected outwards in the world we experience, and in those around us. It's this mirroring effect (mentioned by many New-Age authors) that is most telling about ourselves. As within, so without. Anger at the world largely equals anger at ourselves for not being more ourselves, more connected, communicative, vulnerable, caring, creative, committed and ...
- 1. Hence my 'letting go' those who routinely blamed me for their SOB.
- 2. Asserting boundaries is an important element of individuality. Young children, when first learning their sense of self and independent individuality, learn to emphatically say 'no' — hence the 'terrible twos' period of growth. All God, all good!
- 3. As is explained at the top of this website,my work and intent is "analysing and improving 'bodies of belief': science, religion, business, management, politics, new-age, health … life."
- 4. From Marianne Williamson's "A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles."