Suzanne Reisler Litwin: Really!!!  What’s wrong with complaining?

Having the opportunity to just sit and listen to someone speak can be so peaceful. This is one of the reasons why I love school. To sit and listen and learn is a joy for me. Not too long ago, I was listening to a person reciting a beautiful obituary. I was listening with intent. I wanted to know this wonderful person. I felt at a loss, because I did not know the person who had passed.

A few sentences I heard have stuck with me for a very long time. “Although he was ill for some time, he never complained. He rarely complained about anything. He just lived his life in a quiet and understated way.”

I wondered… Not ever complaining, is this considered a good thing? Not to complain, not to use your voice?

For some reason, in this family, not complaining was viewed as a good thing.

I can tell you right now; those words will not be spoken about me. Unless said sarcastically. I am very good at complaining and using my voice – maybe even too much.

If something is not right for me, I will let you know and just about anyone else who wants to know, will. I think it’s important to let people know how you truly feel, even if you’re complaining about something.

Keeping your feelings inside your mind is not always a healthy decision. Sometimes too many feelings get bottled up, that you feel you might explode. It’s best to share how you feel.

And… It helps to heal when you have a team who will listen to you.

I don’t think its stoic in any way to keep your feelings to yourself all the time, so much so you are deemed, not a complainer.


Am I complaining about people who don’t complain? Is this an oxymoron? Perhaps it is.

Ok, ok, no one wants to listen to someone who constantly complains about everything. You got to pick and choose what needs to be complained about.

But, not complaining at all? Means you might just be too complacent?

Imagine if women never complained about inequality? Imagine if teachers never complained about low pay wages? Imagine if doctors did not complain about the lack of safety materials? Imagine a world without complaining, not much would get done.

One of my amazing students wrote an excellent book about complaining effectively. Her name is Amy Fish.

The title is:

I Wanted Fries with That: How to Ask for What You Want and Get What You Need

“In this book Amy Fish encourages readers to stand up for themselves by complaining effectively. In her career as a university ombudsman, Fish has dealt with thousands of complaints — some trivial, some serious — and gained actionable insights about what works and what doesn't.”

It’s a great read, especially if you want to complain, but don’t know how to go about it effectively.

Suzanne Reisler Litwin: Really!!!  What’s wrong with complaining?

Notably, a friend came by the other day. We sat down for lunch. She told me she had a lot to tell me… Problem was she chose to keep her feelings inside for fear someone would judge her if they knew she had many problems. She was resistant to complain and share.

Guess what? I told her…



Truth is the playing field is even. We are all human and have feelings which need to be shared and complaining is just a part of it. So just go for it and let it all out. Throw in some good o’l swear words and you might elevate the stress you’ve put on yourself. Maybe even swing your arms and stomp your feet and yell! It all helps to get those feelings and words out.

How’s about screaming a bit while you’re complaining too? People scream during good times, really gooood times. Why not give a good scream during an impassioned moment of complaining? I bet you never thought complaining could get sexy?

Years ago I was so angry and upset. I was complaining all the time. So much so, it was disturbing my family members. I knew I had to get some control of my behavior. I decided to get it out in a real heart wrenching way.

Along with a friend, I climbed to the top of a mountain. We stood at the peak, basting in our strength at getting to the top. I took in a big, deep breath of chilly air and I let out a primal scream! I screamed out all my anger, frustrations, and complaints. I hollered every feeling and complaint I had. I basically casted my yolk!

Once finished, I felt an exhausted relief. I cried and smiled at the same time. I was emptied and it felt great.

As we walked down the mountain we both felt relief. That day and that moment has never left my mind. I go to it on occasion to remind myself how freeing it is to complain and to get your feelings out and heard.

So if you happen to be at the top of a mountain and you see a person screaming loud and hard, know that it’s medicinal and freeing. You might want to try it too!

Go for it! Let it out! Let yourself be heard!

— By Suzanne Reisler Litwin

— AB

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