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An Encouraging Word —Whine! Whine! Whine!

Father J. Ronald Knott

Father J. Ronald Knott

These people are grumblers and whiners. Jude 1:16

I know I have it good, but often forget just how good I have it. So, I have one of those red “no whining” stickers taped above my computer to help me remember that fact. I hate it when others whine, but I hate it even more when I start whining.

The true joy in life is to be a positive contributor, not someone who waits to be rescued by someone stronger, braver or luckier. Life’s real winners are those who take responsibility for their happiness, not those who wait around for someone else to do it for them.

I find it odd that often enough the better people have it, the more whining they do. We live in a country that many would give an eye tooth to be a part of, yet we complain about such small things as if mere aggravations were life-threatening problems. Someone said that the people who live in a golden age usually go around complaining how yellow everything looks. All you have to do is watch TV to realize what a whining society we are.

Dr. Phil McGraw, the popular daytime TV host, says this about “whiners:”

“For these people, nothing is okay. It’s too hot or it’s too cold. It’s too far; they’re too tired; it’s too hard. As the saying goes, these people would (complain) if they were hung with a new rope.”

Nobody pays attention to or cares about them enough; life is not fair. They didn’t get the same deal or the same treatment as everybody else. Whine, whine, whine. These people experience the world as an agonizing and very personal ordeal. In response, the people around them want to slap them and scream, “Shut up and deal with it! But mainly, just shut up!”

Whining says more about the whiner than what he whines about. The tendency to whine and complain may be the surest sign that we feel the rest of the world is responsible for our happiness. That is the ultimate laziness.

So why do we whine?

1. We crave connection. Sharing our woes with another person makes us feel a little less alone. We want other people to “feel our pain,” to share in our ups and downs, and to acknowledge our efforts. This is not a bad thing, but, unfortunately, whining can become a habit.

2. We want to be admired. We (mistakenly) believe that if others truly understood how tough we have it, they would respect and admire us. Sadly, it doesn’t work this way. Telling people how hard we have it evokes pity at best and disdain at worst.

There’s a simple question to stop whining in its tracks: “So what are you going to do about it?”

We can use it on ourselves and others. It moves us out of whine mode and into problem-solving. Whining is like cheap wine, sweet on your lips, but if you indulge too often, you will surely regret it.

Father J. Ronald Knott

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2 comments on “An Encouraging Word —Whine! Whine! Whine!

  1. Father Knott…first I want to say I always enjoy reading your column each week!
    You state in this column, “Life’s real winners are those who take responsibility for their happiness” and “There’s a simple question to stop whining in its tracks: “So what are you going to do about it?” My question is simply, “How?” Life has circumstances beyond our control. There’s only so much we can do ourselves. Others, and just the circumstances that surround us, supersede our efforts sometimes. I could not stop my former wife from ending our marriage, for instance. I can only do so much to improve my happiness, but so very often there are many other determining factors that impede. Your thoughts, opinion and advice, please. Thank you. And thank you for your column each week!

    Sincerely and Respectfully,
    Gary Allen
    Crestwood, Ky

  2. Gary,
    Thank you so much. I need your e-mail address. This is not something I would like to answer in the public domain. jrknott@bellsouth.net

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