Those were the words that erupted from my father’s lips any time one of us kids complained. My parents didn’t want to hear it. Now that I’m grown, I understand the frustration of listening to people complain, leaving the issue at my feet and expecting me to fix it.
One day, a light flashed on in my head:
I can’t fix another’s complaint and I don’t have to listen to it.
Some of you are wide eyed in shock at this, saying, “But you’re a life coach. Fixing is what you do.”
Not really. I can only guide and support people to find the truth. They must act to improve their lives. I can’t do it for them. Okay, I at times complain, too. Not happy about it and working to improve that flaw.
Why do people complain?
Some are looking for attention and sympathy, but most often it’s a means to feel like we’re doing something, while we avoid the issue. That avoiding the issue, that one would be my reason to whine. Having been raised as a people pleaser, confrontation was not going to happen easily for me.
Avoid. Avoid. And avoid again. Yes, My name is Sandy rowland, and I have whined.
It's much like when we hear the whine of the police siren. We pull to the side of the road and let them race past. We may feel sympathy or irritation, but we all want to get clear of their path. People are not happy to hear the siren. Do not be the whine people want to avoid.
We think it’s easier to complain to someone about our crappy job with low pay than to ask for a raise or hunt for another career. It’s simpler to whine to our friends about the state of our marriage or the unsatisfactory job someone did for us. We avoid confrontation, but we don’t suffer in silence. We bend our friend’s ears until they run for cover.
And nothing changes for he better.
We are adults and have the power to shift from complaint to action. It’s time to grasp success, stop whining and ask for what we want.
Be honest. Does the idea of confronting the person you’ve been complaining about cause your heart to race in terror? Yeah. That’s why we complain rather than act. We assume it will be a fight or argument, but that is rarely the case. Most people are reasonable and want to help us given the chance. Decide to stop complaining and ask what specifically is driving your annoyance. Once you’re clear, act on that knowledge. Ask the person for what you want.
They have three options:
They can agree to your request, deny you or counter-offer. Negotiation is fine. Make it a win-win for both of you.
You have nothing to lose.
I say this because if they get angry, most often it’s to hide their guilt. People do this when they know they are in the wrong. Great to know what kind of person you’ve been dealing with. Knowledge is a good thing.
If you do not act and continue to whine, you might join the ranks of the other complainers that five years from now will still be yammering about the same things and nothing will have changed.
Is that what you want for your life?
NOT YOU! You’re capable of more or you wouldn’t be reading this. Act. Move forward. Succeed.
I hope this assists you in trading in the impulse to whine for the action to ask and communicate. As always, I thank you for your comments. We all learn from your experience and wisdom.
Are you a good listener?
Most of us believe that we’re attentive, but there is a huge difference between being quiet while someone speaks, and the skill of active listening.
What is active listening?
You listen with focus. You hear and let the person’s words fill you without passing judgment or thinking about what you’ll say next. You are 100% there.
It’s an art and it takes practice to become proficient.
I listen! Yeah, that’s what I use to tell myself.
But my listening skills sucked.
See if you employ any of these tactics:
When we argue, it’s a sign that we are not listening.
When we don’t understand, we may not be listening.
When we interrupt, we are not listening.
I have tended to use tactic number three, interruption.
First, it is rude. Butting in or talking over people sends the message that you know better and what they have to say has little value.
They feel that they have little value.
Not the message I’d wanted to send.
I worked hard to learn to listen with focus and intent. I had to invest myself and shut my mouth and my judgments. Yes, it was difficult, but it was the best thing I’ve done for my relationships.
Why did I call the list ‘tactics’?
Because it can be a way to protect ourselves from being marginalized and ignored, it’s the three-year-old inside yelling, look at me!
When I stopped acting like a spoiled child, my relationships improved. How do you feel when someone listens to you, makes eye contact, nods, and asks questions that bring clarity. How do you feel? I feel loved and cared for.
I decided that I wanted to make others feel—valued.
This week, work toward active listening, time yourself as you focus for a solid 2 minutes. It’s much longer than you’d think. Nudge the speaker if needed with questions that bring clarity. It gets easier with practice.
People feel close to and trust those who listen with their heart. We feel accepted. If you want to improve your relationships, love others by listening so they know that they matter to you.
And you will matter to them.