I mention “look for the truth” because I was caught complaining today by a colleague. I was tired, had been on my feet all day, had a sore back and the task was tedious as hell. Every shitty excuse you could imagine. He said “Things could be worse. I thought you were all spiritual and shit, why are you complaining?” It really pissed me off.
Things could have be worse, but they weren’t. This was the worst I knew, at that time. He was sitting on his ass all day, it was easy for him to say, I thought. As much as I hated to admit it though, he was right. Why was I complaining? The point of studying Philosophy and learning about the mind is to cope with these scenarios. Marcus Aurelius didn’t write meditations as a novel but as an instruction manual for living.
If it hurts to hear it, look for the truth in it. If it comforts to hear it, look for the lie in it – Naval Ravikant
What do you do?
In that moment, I didn’t want to be pacified but simply to vent. In his voice, I heard myself. I heard an incongruence with my words. I felt frustration in hearing advice I agreed with, on some level, being given back to me. There’s a sense of relief in complaining, it’s childish and pointless but it does feel good. It also doesn’t solve anything.
It’s in the words that annoy you, where you’ll find the truth about what needs work. If the work I was doing was frustrating me, then I need to find something different to do right? Or change my attitude. Maybe I should have taken a break and meditated. Fresh air. Got a coffee. Complaining wasn’t my only option. In that moment I wasn’t interested in problem solving, only in complaining and his statement helped me see that.
Use my energy being annoyed at the statement or look for the truth. What’s going to create the best results in the long run?