This thought was originally posted on December 17, 2021. Today, I found myself trying to challenge the sentiment. I thought maybe this was the kind of thing that stoics get knocked for. Suck it up and suffer in silence.
No. That's not it.
I used to say "I can't complain" to inauthentic inquiries such as "How are things?". One day, I rephrased my canned response to convey my sentiment more accurately. The reply became, "I'd complain, but what's the point?".
Abrasive, maybe even a tad dismissive. Rarely, though, did the inquirer double down. This validated my perspective. These greetings amount to space fillers without anything substantive to say and lacking a real desire to listen. Let's move our mouths and make noise until something sticks. God help us if we dare coexist in silence.
But when we manage to, even for a moment, those "things we can complain about" still exist. And in that silence, they want to make themselves known. Looking back at my original thought, I think the gripe is better targeted at the passive complaint. The kind of complaint that the owner will never do anything about. They don't seek to solve or correct the thing, only to make it known. To share the despair, frustration, or sadness. That's selfish.
If you're going to complain, to do with a receptive audience, an open mind, and be receptive to actual feedback.
Or, keep it to yourself.