First World Complaints

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Do you have any complaints today? Before you read on, please quickly jot them down.

The inspiration for this blog entry is from the video (see link below) of people in Haiti repeating first world complaints.  Can you imagine a person in a third world country who is dealing with their basic survival needs hearing/repeating your complaint or validating you and your current predicament? This blog entry is not meant to minimize your gripes, but to use our extremely polarized paradigm of the earth’s inhabitants to re shape your view. Expanding your lens is a powerful tool to put things in perspective and/or minimize their level of seriousness. The statistics are that 70% of the world’s population lives south of the Equator, yet 70% of the world’s resources are north of the equator, leading to some serious “haves” and “have nots”. Our interconnected world makes access to images and other people’s plights crystal clear.

If you have taken any basic psychology classes, you are probably familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The basis of Maslow’s theory is that until the basic needs are being met ( food, water, shelter, clothing),  self actualization is not possible, because so much of our brain space is being used in an attempt to meet those basic needs. There are several other layers to this model between meeting the basic needs and arriving at a state of self actualization. No need to feel guilty if you have these basic things covered.

The path toward self actualization probably includes minimizing the complaining, or if your goals are not so lofty, you might want to consider complaining less if you find your friends or workmates are annoyed by you. We will conclude this exercise with another list, this time writing some things you are thankful for today. Studies have been done on people writing daily thankfulness lists to combat depression, and the results have been surprisingly profound.

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