With the spiritual struggle demanding patience and gratitude, I find it difficult to decipher what is constructive criticism and what is just pure whining. The city I live in has security, fairly adequate social services and facilitates the ability to acquire needed items for everyday living. Alhumdulilah wa biShukrillah, all praise and gratitude is due to God, for this blessing.
But there is a lot lacking. And what is lacking many times becomes frustrating, which sometimes I complain about either internally or externally. I remind myself, though, when I complain that I am drowning in God’s mercy and compassion and have been showered in immense blessing that I can actually enjoy unfettered and how theses blessings overwhelm any negativity, real or perceived, that I may encounter. But sometimes, there are major issues in this city, which is situated in a “developing” country, that really frustrate me and I feel obliged to point them out because they seem not only a hindrance or perhaps danger to me, but to others as well. And I think this last part concerning the effect of things on others is key in deciding between what is whining and what is constructive criticism.
A friend told me concerning drawing this line: “Legitimate critique demands improvement while useless whining demands only discontent.” I think this aphorism helps me answer my question well because if inwardly we are unsound and discontent, the sadness of the soul will be manifest outwardly because it will only see through the lens of unhappiness. However, if something legitimately needs to be fixed, then it should be pointed out, but this criticism should be coupled with constructive answers that can not only be grasped tangibly (in other words sans abstract theorizing) but also easily acted on. And this, I believe, then demands improvement, which is what in the end we are seeking.