Complaining Ben

house-on-the-hillOn a hill, in a house, lived Ben. Everyday Ben would go to the market to purchase some goods for the house. The venders of the marketplace knew Ben well. They were always prepared to expect Ben to… well, complain. At every stall in the market Ben would find something to complain about. Sometimes it was the lighting on the fruits, other times the temperature within the stall. So this was Ben’s life everyday.

One day, in one morning right before Ben was to head out he saw a letter under his door. “Someone must have left it this morning” thought Ben. He opened it and read it. Apparently his niece Michelle was in town and wanted to meet him at the yogurt stand at noon.

At noon, Ben and Michelle met, they exchange greetings, sat and talked a bit about what’s going on in their lives, and they started to walk around the stalls to buy their needed groceries and products. At the lamp stand, Ben complained that all the lights were too dull. At the toy store, Ben complained that all the toys were too old fashioned. At the piano stand, Ben complained that none sounded rich enough for him. Michelle caught whiff of a pattern here.

She said: “do you always complain about everything?” “What do you mean?” asked Ben. “Well it seems that you are always able to find something to complain about.” “Well, what’s wrong about that, I am just appraising things for what they are.” Michelle stood in silence for a moment. “Look Ben, I see it’s cool to appraise things, but how often do you actually complain about things?” “I still don’t know what you mean” said Ben. “Okay, let’s drop it then for now.”

So Ben and Michelle continued their shopping, and talked about other things. Ben still complained at every single stand. Michelle didn’t let this bother her, she was more concerned than anything about how this is affecting Ben’s life. She decided to give him some time, since he has to see the consequences himself.

It turns out that over the next years, much didn’t change for Ben. Michelle however saw how Ben’s complaining spread and grew into personal attacks, to people around him. Ben became more and more reclusive. Michelle on the other hand learned something important. That whether someone complained or not, could be someone’s emotional state spilling out, as she observed in herself. She decided then to not go into other’s  game of complaining but rather simply do and act in ways that are good for her. So if someone were to complain about some object, good, or service, Michelle would investigate and see for herself whether she actually enjoyed or found that product useful for her, instead of simply going with whatever came up in someone else. And through time, Michelle realized something interesting that she would like to share. That her very thoughts were like complaining thoughts. Meaning that when you complain, there is a thought that comes up with you, and you can either choose to accept and allow that complaining thought, and therefore treat it as if its real. So it’s no different than when someone in your reality complains. You can either choose to accept and allow it within you, as who you are, and whether you agree to and thus assimilate that complaint.

Michelle did wonder whether Ben would ever realize what he is doing to himself. But when she asked him, he didn’t even recognize what he was doing. She identified then this important point. That how you respond to questions, determine your future. Do you complain? And how you answer such questions determine your future. How much do you care about you? How far would you go for yourself? You see, what Michelle pointed out, is quite true.




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