As human beings, we are wired for better things. It is one of the traits that keep us at the top of the food chain, good and bad news. It is innate for us to solve problems. We as human beings are quick at wanting to remedy any unpleasant situation that we tangibly experience. We do this even if it happens to someone else. A case in point, how many times have our friends offered a remedy for a complaint at the midpoint of our sharing before even fully listening and digesting what we said?
When problem solving, we take a focus perspective, somewhat of a tunnel vision. Of course, this is needed. It is in fact a pre-requisite to solving problem. That is why it is easy and quick for us to offer a solution.
The same is true when we are complaining about something. That is why it is very easy to complaint because the problem is clear to us. Why is it clear? It is because when something unpleasant happens, we see the specifics of the problem. We can articulate the problem very well indeed. This is what I call a MICRO perspective.
A micro perspective makes the details clear. That is why complaints are colourful and clear. And that is also why solutions can be found. As listeners, we get hooked on the details of it so much so that a solution for the complaint is easy to come by.
However wonderful micro perspective is, there is a huge flaw in it as a solution provider. A micro perspective doesn’t provide context and wider understanding of the eco-system of the problem. A problem is never in isolation to what is going on it its space. This understanding requires another perspective, which is what I call MACRO perspective.
A macro perspective makes you step away from the problem so that you have a wider view of it. This allows you to see other problems related to the initial problem, it reveals relationship the problem has with other elements, it shows you the relationships that exist between elements in the problem eco-system etc. Such an invaluable view in understanding the context of the problem.
The macro view provides such a wealth of information for us to understand and have wisdom in solving the problem.
Now back to complaints that naturally is derived from micro perspective.
How do we then turn complaints and grouses into gratitude?
The answer is in the above discussion of problem solving.
For us to turn grouses into gratitude, it is important for us to move our perspective from micro to macro. This additional perspective will provide us with the whole picture; the overview and the details.
The change of perspective inadvertently will calm us down (since in complaining, we are in a state of agitation) and provide us with time and information to analyse our grouses and put them into perspective.
Usually, as we see the whole picture, gratitude will start sinking in. This doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem or the initial problem that produces the grouse or complaint goes away. With this newfound wisdom because of the micro and macro perspective, we become more rational, calm, and empathetic. This will bring about some gratitude for there is always something to be thankful for even in the direst of circumstance provided we have faith that they exist and trust that we will find them.
In conclusion, what separates grouses and gratitude is just backing a few steps to have an additional perspective. Ultimately, it is just a shift of perspective.