I wrote this aphorism to myself. It came to me from my mirror reflection, who is often times (by far) the wiser of the two of us.
I know it sounds harsh. It was intended to be harsh when my reflection spoke to me.
When I was commuting back and forth to my studio clients, I was always under the gun to be somewhere by a specific time. In Los Angeles, on our freeway system, that is a hard prognostication to make, and when you are waiting for just one last comp to print on the large color printer and be mounted on the illustration board and racing in gridlock cross town, and trying to find parking in their immense parking lots… you get to the destination and you are stressed the F out from trying to be on time.
And what did I do? I would share some of it with the client… until (duh!) I could see on their faces that they could care less. They wanted me in their office on time with the proper materials. End of story. All else was wholly irrelevant. They were immersed in their own world. (Hence the VR headset on the person in my illustration today) Their reality did not include my stress of having to get there… so why was I so desirous of sharing that? In Yiddish, the expression is kvetching. Any language you want to use… it is the indelicate habit of sharing something that is annoying you with someone who really does not care at all!!!!!
From those days forward, I have had to repeatedly reprimand myself for slipping into similar circumstances.
Here is the absolute truth. We are all stressed the F out. For all sorts of reasons. That is life. It is a high wire act with no net and terrifying at times. Daunting at others. Leaving all of us trying to cope. Trying to hold on. Trying to just get through a day, an hour a minute….. And it is incredibly difficult.
Add the stress of world events and it becomes too much for most of us to hold on. We start to tune out. For fear of overwhelm.
And then, we seek someone with whom we can bare soul and really talk about things that are getting to us. Hopefully we do the same for others when they come to us for that same degree of tenderness and concern. As Louis Nizer wisely shared…. “Words of comfort, skillfully administered, are the oldest therapy known to man.”
That being the case, why would I waste space today saying that I should stop complaining because no one cares? Because in almost all cases, it is true. The party whom you have trapped into listening to your kvetching is really counting the seconds before you stop, so the conversation can move on. That is the cold, hard truth. Like it or not. The longer you go, the more of an annoyance you become to them. And you start to overstay your welcome. In part, because they have a ton of stress on their shoulders that they are carrying and their tolerance to let you vent about yours is narrow and mostly nonexistent.
So, as my reflection this morning completed its lecture to me, it summarized by saying that the complaint is me talking to me. If I am unhappy with the way things are, there is only me to make it right. There is only me to shoulder the responsibility and do what needs to be done. End of story.