A man I know refuses to ask himself, “Why?” When sexual temptations entice, he grits his teeth and orders himself, “Resist!” When other people irritate him, he furrows his brow and wills himself, “Be nice.” When anxious feelings rear their heads, he decapitates them with a hearty, “Be gone!”
But the thing is—and I’m not sure how to phrase this—he seems a bit arrogant. He handles life so very well; what’s wrong with the rest of us? His advice to sufferers is, “Don’t do it,” “Be happy,” “Suck it up,” or “Just stop!”
If I’m ever hurting … well … his number is not on my speed-dial.
Another man I know came to me a year ago because someone told him he complains too much. He asked me what I thought.
The truth was he did complain a lot. Grumbling seemed the bass-drum beat of his conversational style: “My wife is a slob,” “My boss it too demanding,” “My colleagues are unappreciative,” and “No one wants to talk with me.”
Yikes! I wasn’t sure how to answer him, but I uneasily admitted that he might grumble more than most. I asked him “Why?” He left in a huff, determined never to complain again (though I’ve wondered since if he complained to his wife about me).
A few months later he was no longer complaining. He was angry; livid with his wife for her housekeeping; angry at his boss for an assignment, and furious with co-workers for their ingratitude. He had exchanged self-pitying complaints for an other-blaming fury.
It was not an improvement.