As a popular way to translate “complaining” into german one finds the word “beschweren” which has a very similar use and meaning but means, literally translated, to make something/someone heavy”. The notion of complaining that revealed so many personal and emotional stories in the context of our Seminar felt like a key to a otherwise hidden box that we all have somewhere. To share a complaint is to open this box partly, to make oneself vulnerable but also to allow strong connections to others. But the act of complaining seems to always be an interaction that transforms both the complainer and the receiver. After a seminar session of listening to a lot of complaints I understood the german word “beschweren” because I acutally felt heavier somehow. To share the burden of a complaint means to carry it together. At the same time it brings relief to the complainer which could be translated to “Erleichterung” in german (what literally means “making light”).
We all want to get rid of our heavy complains – we want to feel light. But with a full box of complaints there is no real lightness.
How could we create spaces of a collective “Erleichterung” without loosing the core of the complaint? How should the complaint be responded to enable “Erleichterung”? How can we find a balance?
The artwork by Thomas Sarraceno came into my mind while writing the post but my text has no direct connection to the artists work or texts.