I was asked to speak at a local retirement complex last week regarding Pain Management and issues related to my new book, Silent Courage. One of the topics that encouraged our group discussion was the need to express our needs. One of the participants asked, “But isn’t that complaining?”
I said no. “It’s a good thing to communicate.”
Then she asked, “Why do we feel it is a bad thing?”
What a great question.
It seems that we confuse complaining with communicating. And the only difference between the two may be our attitude. Communicating is relaying information. Complaining implies that we moan or groan as we speak.
When we communicate that we have particular needs we are asking the world to stop, look, and listen. Then simply say, “What may work for you does not work for me. I need [state what you need].”
By sharing that we require something like a handicapped parking spot because walking long distances is difficult we are raising awareness that distance matters. If we travel through this world only thinking of ourselves, it is easy to remain selfish. If folks who were in wheelchairs, who could not climb stairs, never expressed their challenges, we may not have elevators that benefit us all in buildings today.
It is our attitude when we express our feelings that categorizes what we say.
My husband’s roommate in college was blind. When you would enter his space I remember asking him if it was okay if I turned a light on. His reply was, “Sure, I forgot you have that problem.”
Never be afraid to claim the space you need for your journey. Others may benefit, too.