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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.


 


Comments

02/17/2013 10:56am

We're all guilty of it for all of the reasons you sited, Sandy. I loved what you said about it being an avoidance tool. I never thought about it that way, but you are absolutely right. As a personal trainer, I deal with lots of whiners. And as a massage therapist, it kind of is my duty to listen. I let them go on and then inevitable ask, "So what are you going to do about that?" That usually stops them;-)

02/17/2013 11:07am

Making them responsible is always the right answer. Way to go P J!
When the power is put back on them, they freeze. For most that is not what they wanted. sympathy, not answers. I'm there for answers as are you.
Awesome comment!

02/17/2013 11:27am

Great post, Sandy. I steer clear of whiner just like coppers. perfect analogy. We have a saying in our family, "Suck it up, cupcake." Love how you pointed out the motivation for whining was avoidance. So very true. Yet if we act, then it's over. But whining will drag it out until death.

02/17/2013 12:13pm

"Suck it up", is perfect. Whining gets you nothing, but fewer friends.
Great attitude, Tiff!

02/17/2013 1:44pm

Wonderful post. I'm a fixer, so if someone whines to me I try to help them fix it. It drives me crazy to hear someone talk about the same problems over and over again and not do anything about it.

02/17/2013 2:39pm

I relate to your comment. These people are out for attention. At some point I had to let go of people who refused to take responsibility and let them complain to some other poor soul. I learned to say no to enabling destructive behavior.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Most appreciated!

02/17/2013 3:42pm

Interesting post, Sandy! As a high school teacher, I listen to a lot of whining-homework, getting up in the AM, blah, blah.....I wish I could tell them to "suck it up!" It is usually the same ones that whine all the time. Seems to be a character trait.

02/17/2013 4:44pm

Whining is a learned behavior. People complain because it works for them. They will stop when it no longer gains the desired outcome.
When kids don't get out of their homework or get extra time, they will realize there are real consequences to their choices. That is a good thing. My sister teaches, so I hear you. Parents have trained kids into this destructive way. Society is left to deal with it. Great comment!

L.L. Muir
02/17/2013 5:42pm

I know I whine. I wish someone would hand me the mirror when I do. Then I could hand that mirror off to others when the time comes!

02/17/2013 6:27pm

We all whine at times, but we want to overcome that and act for our good. Being aware is the first step to overcome our self defeating habits. I see you working daily to become all that you hope to be.
I applaud your efforts and all those who take a step toward wholeness.
Hang in. I've seen myself in that mirror and I'm working on it.

Donna Velleman
02/17/2013 10:21pm

Good post Sandy. I avoid too but I try not to whine. No one wants to hear it anyway. lol The only thing is when I did try to communicate at times it turned into a blame game and it got no where.

02/18/2013 5:10am

Anger often comes out when someone feels fear or guilt. When your request are met with blame, there may be some truth in what they say. If so, own that. there is also a chance of guilt on the blamer's part. They do not want to accept how they have failed you so they turn it around and attack. You won't get anywhere with someone who refuses to communicate. Sorry. Know who you're dealing with, and if possible, move on.

02/19/2013 6:05am

Sometimes we whine without realizing it. I know I'm doing it when my husband pretends not to hear me -- or says bluntly, "What are you going to DO about it?"

02/19/2013 6:16am

We do whine without realizing. For most of us it's a habit, but habits can be changed. Good point. We must be aware of the words we use. It helps if we have someone close to remind us when we complain.
Good point Sandy! Thank you.

02/19/2013 7:03pm

I love this. Sometimes, I wish I could just blurt it out: stop whining and do something.

Last year, I changed my diet drastically. So when someone complains to me about weight gain or pain or anything else related to food and lifestyle, I always tell them: "the choice is yours. You choose to eat what you eat and you choose your lifestyle. You could choose to do something about it."

02/19/2013 7:16pm

So true! People seem to get stuck and forget that they are the power in their life. The have choice. It's freeing when you accept that fact. Good for you taking the leap to find an answer to your health issues.
Awesome!


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