BearingBlog has a post up about people complaining about their kids, asking why no one says: I really love having kids! One does seem to get a lot of that kind of talk, though we hear a little less out here in Texas than we used to in Los Angeles.
This reminded me of a conversation MrsDarwin and I were having the other night about the dangers of complaining. There are a lot of subjects it's traditional to complain about in order to make small talk: job, spouse, in-laws, kids, house, car, etc. Unless everyone else out there is far more miserable than I am (it seems unlikely, but I guess it's possible) I assume that a certain amount of this is just social ritual.
As the drama prof pounded into my head when I took acting back in college, the best way to get yourself to feel an emotion is to take on the external characteristics of that feeling. Breath harshly, walk quickly, punch the air or shout, and real anger will usually well up inside you. Assuming the accidents can bring about the substance.
Watching the people at work who constantly complain about their spouses, or some of the couple we know who complain about their kids, I can't help wondering if complaining about something in order to have something in common to commiserate about can often as not create resentment where it didn't before exist.