We all whine — some of us more than others. But unless you're always walking around with a glass completely full, you probably turn to whining more often than you think. It's possible to curb that behaviour, though, and the more you do, the happier you'll be.
Why Whining Is Bad For You
If you've ever been around a whiner, you know how painful it is to hear them whine all the time. It's hard to have the self-awareness that you're doing it yourself. First off, let's take a look at how The Wall Street Journal defines whining and the biggest problems with it:
Whining, as defined by experts — the therapists, spouses, co-workers and others who have to listen to it — is chronic complaining, a pattern of negative communication. It brings down the mood of everyone within earshot. It can hold whiners back at work and keep them stuck in a problem, rather than working to identify a solution. It can be toxic to relationships.
We tend to whine or complain without purpose, and that's the problem. If you're just on the defensive and not looking for a way to get a positive outcome, it's useless whining. That's no good for you. The Wall Street Journal continues:
>Ms. Hanks says it is important for the listener to understand that whining masks a deeper, more vulnerable emotion. For example, a person might complain about a boss, but what he is really feeling is fear that his career is stalled. "Whining is just a powerless complaint," she says. Understand this and you can get to the root of what is wrong.
That feeling of powerless stretches you thinner than you might think. The trick to fixing this problem is gaining the self-awareness that you're whining, then doing your best to stop it.
Write Out A "No Whining Manifesto"
Sadly, although many of us are whiners, we don't usually realise it. We all do simple little things, like whining about the traffic, complaining about the service at a restaurant, or just giving a general "harumph" to life in general.
So, I decided to give myself a No Whining Manifesto, and I recommend you try it too. Basically, you just need to recognise the petty annoyances that you let get to you, write them out, then take a good look at them. They're kinda funny when you see them as a whole, and it's easy to pick out the legitimate complaints from the absurd ones. Here's an example list:
- I will not whine about the traffic
- I will not whine about the service at a restaurant until I've left the table
- I will not whine about the weather, ever
- I will not whine about anything on social media
- I will not whine about the past
- I will not whine about how much time I have to do something
- I will not whine about about much time I don't have to do something
- I will not whine about the selection of movies on Netflix
- I will not whine about about how my friends are always late
- I will not whine about about how much sleep I got
- I will not whine about anything that I can easily change
- I will not whine about my clothes
- I will not complain about the casting of a movie
- I will not whine about the discomfort of a pair of shoes
- I will not whine about the temperature of my apartment
- I will not whine about the lack of food in my fridge
- I will not whine about about what time it is
- I will not whine about technology without looking at the Settings
- I will not whine about my faults without figuring out how to fix them
You get the point. Spend a couple of days watching yourself and writing about all the stuff you complain about. You'll feel a little dumb by the end, I promise, but it's a good thing.
Get Your Friends To Help
It's easy to say you'll take a hard look at your life to make some positive changes and then not actually do that. If your manifesto is doing you no good, it might be time to employ your friends to help you out.
Simply put, you just need to ask your friends to tell you to shut up every time you whine about something. It's a dangerous game, but if you agree to it, you'll be better for it in the long run. We've talked before about dealing with chronic complainers, and that's the basic advice you want to give your friends.
Let your friends get in your face about your petulant whining for a whole week. Tell them to be forward. Have them ask you a simple question: " How do you intend to fix this problem?" and you'll be on your way to whine-free.