Years ago when Sister Pat and I lived in the same town, we would get together nearly every Wednesday evening for dinner at her house.
She’d cook and I’d bring a bottle of wine. We gave each other the gift of unconditional listening as we’d discuss whatever was troubling us. There was no shortage of topics. She was recently divorced with a grown child, and I had divorced several years earlier and was raising two teenagers. Sometimes, we needed to solve problems, and sometimes, we just needed to vent. Misery loves miserable company.
We called those evenings our time for ‘wine and whine.’
At the end of the evening, we both felt better for having expressed ourselves in a safe venue. Sometimes we learned to look at our situations differently. Sometimes action was possible. Sometimes, we simply had to accept things as they were.
It wasn’t whining that helped us through some trying times. We knew better than to whine like pouty children who don’t know what they’re thinking or feeling and who refuse to help themselves.
3 reasons whining does not work
- Whining makes us feel worse, not better.
- Whining says we are powerless over the situation.
- Whining means we are not thinking about our feelings.
Our words have power to shape our reality and we weren’t about to let our words make us feel worse or paint us as victims.
Instead, we voiced what was wrong, first by talking about the facts and then talking about our feelings. We acknowledged whether we could or could not do something about the situation, and if we felt something could be done, we brainstormed about what to do. If we felt nothing could be done, then we brainstormed about how to cope.
We used the power of our words to shape our reality, to paint our dreams, hold ourselves accountable and to keep us honest with ourselves and each other about our feelings. We used our words to remind ourselves that even when we couldn’t control what was happening, when we didn’t have the power to change a single thing, we still had the power to be in charge of how we lived our lives. We still had choices.
Life Is Honest, Open and True: When faced with problems, it’s easy to fall into whining. But whining allows us to play victim, absolves us of taking any action, and stops us from expressing our feelings about the situation. No matter how bad our situation, we can always use our words to affirm our reality and our feelings about it. The next time you’re tempted to whine, take a step back and ask yourself what you’re really feeling. Whatever other choices are closed to you, you always have a choice about how to think about your reality and how to cope with it.