Oakville Zen Meditation

#117: Complaining and resentment ( Ego Series#2) 23JUL16

Complaining & resentment (EGO series #2)

Complaining about an issue that required attention and solution is perfectly OK.

But how often do you complain knowing very well there is usually nothing one can do about or, that your listener doesn’t care too much about your statement?

So, there are two types of complains: the former is rational and the later more emotional.

Complaining is one of the ego’s favorite strategies for self-identification and strengthening. Every complaint is a little story created in our subconscious ego-mind and that we believe completely whether we complain aloud or only in thoughts. Some egos are only surviving by complaining all the time about their problems, about this, about that and about people.

Permanent negative labeling of everything, of others and of self is a very common way of affirming to yourself and others that you have an opinion, and in fact that you exist.

Who are you and what can you say if you do not complain regularly?

Resentment is a negative emotion that goes with complaining. It adds even more energy to the ego. Resentment means to feel bitter, indignant, victim or offended. We resent people’s intelligence, wealth, luck, sentimental life, and job. We resent their behavior, dishonesty, lack of integrity, what they said, did in the past or failed to do.

Our ego loves this stuff because, by identifying others with our negative labels, our ego feels more positive that is better than them. Negative labeling is a self-defense reflex. Who is behind this labeling self-defense? Our subconscious ego is the culprit. Most of the time the “fault” that you perceive in someone else does not exist as a “fault” per se. This is a pure fictional and negative interpretation made by our mind conditioned to perceive others as potential problem or threat and allowing our mind to feel more righteous and superior.

Complaining should not be confused with informing someone of a mistake or deficiency that can be fixed. In that case refraining from complaining would mean that you accept bad quality and behavior. There is no ego by telling the waiter that the wine is bitter. If you stick with the fact “the wine is bitter” you remain neutral. But, if you shout, “How can you serve me such lousy wine”, your ego is offended and boosted.

How to deal with our complains and resentments?

We are used to complain and resent so much about almost everything including ourselves that dealing with this negative habit is very difficult. Remember that complaining and resentment are two very efficient ego-driven self-defense mechanisms for the purpose of identifying and enhancing our self image.

” I am complaining therefore I am, I am judging therefore I am, I don’t like this therefore I am, I resent that, her, him... therefore I am”

Like for any other feelings, learning to be aware of our complains rather than being carried out by them is the first step to control them. Awareness allows us to analyze their rationality, if any, and finally let them go if there is no constructive solution, which is usually the case. See if you can catch this little inner voice starting to complain about this or that, and accept that its source is coming from your ego. When you learn to become aware of this voice, you will also realize that you are not that voice, but the one who is hearing it. You are the awareness and this inner voice is just the thought. As soon as you become aware of your ego being behind the complain, it is strictly speaking no longer the ego running the show but you running it.

Awareness and ego cannot coexist at the same time since the former is always pure consciousness and the later always pure sub-consciousness. The best way to tame our mind is to be fully aware of its production such as thoughts and emotions. This is one of the basic principles of mindfulness practice during meditation and outside it. Our ego-driven mental habit will always survive because it has the momentum of thousands of years of collective human sub-consciousness behind it, but every time it is recognized, it is weakened. When you realize, thru awareness practice, that your ego is talking to you and when you become aware of this little voice, switch your attention to the present moment such as your breathing. By doing so, the little voice becomes mute.

Final words:

Remember that complaining, resentment, grievance and any other negative statements are very efficient ego-driven self-identification and self-protection subconscious mechanisms that become verbal. One may add labeling. Like with our thoughts and all negative emotions, the key is to learn to be aware of our complains when they pop-up to our conscious mind and expressed verbally or mentally.