During the Christmas break, we like to relax on the Mighty Murray River which divides Victoria and New South Wales in Australia. The quiet is only interrupted by the odd passing ski boat and by ducks paddling around waiting for bread. People throw crumbs out and, immediately, more other ducks arrive for dinner. When the trespassing birds arrive, the original ones get cross. They chase off the intruders, flying at them and quacking loudly. Both sets of ducks then energetically flap their wings and the interlopers move away, leaving the rightful diners to quietly enjoy their meal.
Yet, at no time did one hungry duck say to his starving companion, “I’m so sick of that blue duck who is always hanging around that boat. He thinks he owns all the bread on the entire river. He eats and eats and leaves nothing for anyone else. It’s a free river and I’m fed up with being hungry every day. Do you think this river is a bit chilly today? Yesterday it was hot. Today, it’s all churned up, muddy and cold. I think I’ll fly around and see if I can find a better river to paddle in away from those greedy guys”. The superior and well-fed duck did not turn to his duck buddy and say, “Those upstarts from down river are a real pain. They come in thinking they deserve more crumbs than we do. We’ve paddled harder than them and are entitled to more”. No, those ducks flap their wings and move on. No sweating of the small stuff so a happier and less stressful life for all ducks. I bet all those ducks sleep well at night as they make the best of every day and don’t moan about their life.
Sometimes, it is tough to remain positive. When our world is falling apart and not going how we expected, it is tempting to tell anyone listening how bad things are for us. It is great to talk things through, but to continually complain instead of finding solutions is exhausting for all involved. We all have issues to content with and Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s words, “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone”, are so powerful.
People like to be around genuinely positive and happy people who have nice, half full glasses. Some people didn’t get that memo and proceed to suck the very life out of you just like the Dementors in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books. These people are defined by their continual complaining, often about events and circumstances over which they have no control. For example, they will moan when the temperature is too hot. Instead of celebrating a lovely sunny day, they will say things like, “It’s too bright outside”, “The sun will fade the carpet” or “I’ll have to water my plants again”. The following day’s rain is met with, “It’s never sunny here”, “I’m cold”, “The weather is always miserable in this town”. These people are tough to be around because there is no consoling them. They live to find fault, are never satisfied and like to tell you all about it. They take little action to help themselves.
Patient: “Doctor, doctor, it hurts when I wave my arms in the air”. Doctor: “So stop waving your arms around”. Patient: “But it doesn’t hurt that much”.
However bad things are for you today, there will be always someone who is suffering more than you. “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet”, is a quote attributed to the Persian poet Sa’di. In a similar, but more humorous vein, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Tim Brooke-Taylor, and Marty Feldman performed a very funny skit call “The Four Yorkshiremen” where they try to out-moan each other by telling stories of how bad their lives had been.
We are so fortunate with our incredible bodies and what is available to us on this amazing planet. Instead of being continually cross and disappointed, find something positive to talk about. Talking out problems and finding solutions with friends, family and perhaps counsellors is healthy. Moaning about everything doesn’t add value, provide answers or change anything.
Try not to moan.