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All complaints of loved ones do not have to be attended to.

Boundaries for self

People who are important to us in our lives, our spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends etc will come and complain about something not going well in their lives, their dissatisfaction with someone else, their unmet needs etc. As people who love them, we want to jump in and attend to their complaints. Sometimes this can be taxing and unnecessary.

If they are complaining about others, it is good to listen to it with all the attention, empathy etc. It is not necessary that we have to jump in and solve their issues with others. In fact, they may resent it and think we view them as incompetent. But listening to the complaints is essential for the person to feel they have been heard.

Unmet needs of others

If they are complaining about unmet needs, we have to look at our own resources - time, money, energy etc. Can we meet those needs and do we want to? If it does not put too much strain on us, we should meet those needs. We should not be meeting the needs of others if it costs too much for us in terms of money, time, energy etc unless it is an emergency or the needs are critical.

Their issues with others

We should also remember that we don’t have to solve their people’s problems. We should enable them to solve it themselves by helping them to understand how it can be done. Often when two adults in our lives are having issues, it is good to allow them to deal with it. The issues may be deeper and we may only be seeing what appears on the surface. By wading into it we may create more complexities than resolutions.

Knowing our boundaries

People around us do complain about many things. Listening to those complaints without mocking them or being sarcastic about it is important not necessarily solving them. If we do not know our boundaries and the limitations of our resources, we may end up feeling frustrated because we may be stretching ourselves beyond our capacities. Understanding boundaries, ours and other people’s is an important aspect of understanding ourselves.


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