Complaining about everything is sometimes a common pastime of some of us–me included. I was about to complain that this week has been a stressful, tiring, and exhausting one for me for attending webinars and meetings one after another, either as a participant, a moderator, or a host while on teacher’s leave.
Just as I was about to start my rant on my social media account, a photograph of four children running on a street barefooted, wounded, orphaned (I presume), appeared on my feeds. The photo must have been taken in a war-stricken country or a refugee camp.
I suddenly felt ashamed of myself for complaining a lot about every little thing that annoys me like the fish I bought from the market was not fresh or the delivered food was not packed well, or the bagger in a supermarket was not kinder to as he was to the other customers, and the list continues.  
What are my rumblings compared to the fear of those children who just lost or separated from their parents or the terror felt by those families fleeing Afghanistan, or the desperate situation of those in refugee camps where necessities such as clean water, food, shelter are already a luxury?
We complained a lot without even realizing that we have everything to be thankful for in life.
We still have our jobs, despite 4 million Filipinos were left jobless by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have our family with us to share our smallest concern, worry, or fear while others have been parted by natural or man-made calamities, wars, and social injustices.
We are in the best of our health–probably have had the first or a full dose of COVID vaccine– while others are fighting for their last breath in hospitals, make-shift medical facilities, or even dying without receiving any medical attention from health professionals.
While we hate doing the extra mile for our job, others are longing and fantasizing to take our place. While we despise our country because we believed that our government leaders lack in handling the pandemic and all other issues in the way we expect them to be, think of Haiti whose brutal assassination of its president happened in July, or Myanmar whose ruthless military junta that started in February reportedly killed children as young as six years old, or Afghanistan whose president fled the country before anyone else could.
Seeing those video footage or reports on how desperate Afghans scrambled at Kabul airport and others clung on the fuselage of a cargo airplane and fell to death reminds me of how lucky I am to be in our country. I can work safely, sleep peacefully at night, and even dream and plan freely for the future of my family.
Don’t get me wrong. I know that complaining has also small doses of benefits as it allows us to vent our frustrations, fears, or worries. But if done excessively, it could ruin the blessings that we should be counting. Complaining is contagious that we can even form an army like that of the famous K-Pop band because our act is validation for others’ dissatisfaction.
How about turning our complaints into a solution to whatever dissatisfies us? If the solution to the problem is beyond our reach, don’t bother. It’s not for us to solve. Instead of complaining, let’s see the world with optimism, gratitude, and hope, especially in this trying time.
The world is already weeping because of the pandemic, armed conflicts, natural disasters among other forms of injustices and oppressions. Can’t we be the source of a little inspiration, hope, or motivation for others who are truly in a distressed situation? Perhaps, we can learn to celebrate small successes and appreciate little things around us. We can still spend special moments with our loved ones, follow our passions in life while others cannot even afford to dream of what we have been enjoying.
Let’s leave off complaining and replace it with understanding, love, and respect. Let’s stop pointing out on negativities of life and focus on the positive ones. Let’s remind ourselves that complaining, if more than necessary, costs us our peace of mind and the excitement of living the life that we’d just been dreaming of in the past.
I remember our former university president saying we could criticize her management all we want, but make sure to offer a solution; otherwise, we’re just whining.