What are you complaining about? Ellia Simmons Self Intervention.

My inspiration for my self intervention came to me on my walk home from class. It was dark already, as it has been these days and I was listening to my favorite podcast. This podcast is an amazing true crime podcast that is fascinating, and the two women on the podcast were talking about complaining. As they were discussing how they complain a lot but don’t know how to compete with the reaction to do so and the cognitive dissonance from the complaining and the knowledge of their own privilege. And that reminded me of this class and the self intervention. So I decided my self intervention for this past weeks was to not complain. At first I was ecstatic. I thought it wouldn’t be that hard, easy maybe, because I really have an amazing beautiful life that I am so incredibly grateful for. I have incredible privilege. And I have Guilt attached to that privilege. So I thought. Lets give it a try.
I found out quickly how hard it would be. Within the first hour I had complained about being hungry, tired and stressed. This immediately made me question how I was going to be able to do this. It was almost like it was an automatic response. It made me think about what actually qualifies as complaining. When faced with the constant question, How are you? you either say good, or you are honest. “I’m tired” is a response to a question, or is it you complaining about the fact that you are tired, or hungry, or stressed. And it made me realize that you are just being honest. Your guttural bare emotions don’t know of your privilege. They are not internally ranked against every other soul on this earths actions and lives. Your emotions and your privilege coexist simultaneously, but seperatley. So I decided I wanted to see if I could train them to exist a little less separate.
For the rest of the week I attempted to do just that. When feeling and emotion about some aspect of my life that was negative, I acknowledged it. “this is the truth this is how I feel”, and then try to move past it. If I complained and didn’t realize it, I tried to catch myself, or merely put myself in a more aware headspace. Instead of feeling guilty, I would do one action or think one conscious thought of how I can live in the way that coincides with my values. I wanted to validate my own emotions of not just my own day to day grind and struggle with mental health, but also my guilt. By addressing both I could consciously bring positivity to the line of thought.
This entire week was very challenging, and emotionally exhausting. The question of “what are you complaining about?” has always had the connotaion of “there are so many people who have it worse than you.” And that is true, but it is unfair to subject yourself to too much of that guilt. The truth is, the less cognitive dissonance you have, the less guilt you will feel. It’s okay to not be having a great time, and just because I am privileged, does not mean I am granted automatic happiness. But it is important to be aware of what makes you feel guilty. The things. that make you feel most guilty will most likely be the things that are easiest for you to do something about. So instead of “what are you complaining about”, ask “what for”, ask “why” ask yourself what you can do to change your own situation. Validate yourself but do not pity yourself, and live as consistently as possible to your creed. A conscious mind is the first step. And most of all don’t be too hard on yourself.

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