“Stop complaining” is good advice, but it should come with a caveat – “Stop complaining to everyone.”

Complaining is a feature of the human condition. It is impossible to live a full life without complaining.

Complaining should only be done with close, respected and trusted friends. In fact, the marker of true friendship is who you can complain to, feel listened to, and nudges you to act in spite of the complaint.

Marriages that are going well are a safe space for each partner to complain about all of life’s difficulties, each partner feels listened to, and supported to keep going.

Unhealthy marriages turn complaining into whining. It becomes unsafe to complain. You get paralysed by the burden of not having anyone to safely complain to.

The same is true for healthy families. They are safe spaces for complaining. Everyone knows what the other is battling, understands it is a feature of life, and instead of judging, nudges each person on in spite of life’s hard questions.

Therapy and closed circle groups try to provide a safe space for complaining, for those that find no such space in their lived reality.

The advice should not be “stop complaining”, it should be – “Find someone you can safely complain to.” It is the secret of an unencumbered life.

– Osasu Oviawe

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