Education

Don’t play the blame game

Are we becoming a generation of complainers, eternally dissatisfied with every situation?

Readers who connected with the previous article, “The Future is in the present”, wrote in with queries about practical ways in which they could anchor themselves in the present. Perhaps, one of the ways we can explore this, is to observe the various ways in which we remove ourselves from what is happening in the moment. We find a million ways to distract ourselves from really facing reality as it is presenting itself to us. For those interested in psychology and other associated disciplines, these fields will give you a window into looking at this in further detail. However, in our day to day lives, one of the most repetitive (but invisible) ways in which we avoid confronting what we face is by complaining!

There was an article that spoke of how we are increasingly becoming a generation of complainers. We have become so attuned to complaining that we are not even aware of how much we enjoy dancing to its rhythm. Whether it is the weather, classmates, colleagues, friends, family, traffic… our mind space is continuously being consumed by the noise of complaining. What is complaining? In its essence, if you really observe yourself, complaining is being eternally dissatisfied with whatever is presented in the moment to such an extent that it blinds one from seeing what is really happening.

In an organisation I worked for many years ago, things became quite chaotic in a certain department and one person was singled out as the cause of the disruptions. We all began complaining about that individual and it soon became a mass movement of complainers, where every action of this colleague was viewed through this biased filter. It also created negative energy, and we did not look for constructive solutions; it was easier to blame someone else. When the colleague finally left, we realised that the problems had not! It was a rude awakening. We realised that if we had used the opportunity to see what was really happening, then the energy spent on endlessly complaining in corridors and staff rooms could have been put to better use.

Experiential learning

Many years ago, we had a drama teacher, who really helped students experience this. She created real life situations and asked them to role play situations in their lives, which they had complaints about. In the same story, each person played various roles so they really got an experience of being both the person complaining and the one being complained about. The students gained a few valuable insights through the enactment. First, that complaining prevents them from seeing other perspectives. That it leads to often solutions coming from a place of anxiety and emotional bias. That it is a way to shirk responsibility, “It never is my problem but theirs.” One student shared a powerful observation. Complaining prevents peace, necessary to accept situations we cannot change.

“The Ugly Indians” in Bengaluru is a group of anonymous individuals who converge to clean and beautify one designated spot in the city. Tired of complaining about the garbage and pollution, the group decided to commune together and just do the job. No one individual gets recognition and they silently work and then disperse. The positive effect of this outweighs all of us armchair complainers!

Try an experiment for a day. Everytime you feel like complaining, just bring awareness to your action. If you can do something about it, then just do it.

Else, focus on just accepting the situation for the moment. Either way, you will feel lighter, more joyous and that will radiate to those you live and work with. Try it, and see if it works. Stop the complaining!

The author has worked as a special educator in various settings. Share your thoughts and ideas at: lifeplus590@gmail.com

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 9:04:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/dont-play-the-blame-game/article17407873.ece

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