Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

Note: This post was originally published on June 29, 2011. Since it was, and still is, highly viewed I thought you might enjoy seeing it again.

Would you like some cheese with that whine?” Say that to the person you’rechesse with your whine listening to, and he/she will either smile and quit whining or get upset and say, “I’m not whining, I’m venting.” Same thing in my book. I’m not saying we shouldn’t whine to a good listener sometimes, and it’s not an easy task to stop complaining about the stressors in our lives. It can help, at least temporarily.

What happens when you keep all your complaints, anger and sadness to yourself? They can build and build culminating in an explosion, or they can fester inside your psyche causing you to develop physical malfunctions like high blood pressure and heart problems.

How have you handled situations like losing your job, divorce or being in an unhealthy relationship, the loss of a spouse or parent? Find a friend, pour some wine and let it all out. Then make a plan to fix the problem, change your attitude and move on. 

Unfortunately, some people find themselves complaining constantly and others hold in the anger, fear and frustration until they spiral down into depression or explode uncontrollably.

blowing off steam

Photo courtesy of thebookishsnob.blogspot.com

Of course, venting or “blowing off steam” relieves the pressure of emotional stress. Although, sometimes venting, the very thing you thought would help you feel better, becomes excessive to the point of getting sick of listening to yourself. Maybe we should take that “steam” you want to release, and use it to power a positive action, instead.

Try abstaining from venting for a period of time and allow that steam to build. Instead of exploding, use the power of your harnessed frustrations to cause a change in the status quo. Ghandi wrote, “As heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world.” You can move your world.

I remember only one time in my life that I was able to abstain from venting and use that power positively. We had lost our business and were about to lose everything else. We decided to move out of state for better employment opportunities. My husband left in August to find a home and a job. It was my job to keep food on the table, keep the kids from being scared and do what was necessary to prepare to move 2,500 miles across the country. I, subconsciously, used my own fears and frustrations to help me power through the necessary tasks. I was working, carting my son to karate lessons and providing my daughter her time for piano and voice lessons. I held a monstrous garage sale, to raise money for the move, selling most of our furniture and belongings I would not have otherwise given up.

I kept telling the kids and myself this was an adventure. I would tell my son, who was 9 at the time,  that we’d have so much sunshine he could ride his bike to school and practice his golf swing everyday. My daughter at 15 was not as easy to charm. The prospect of getting her first job was alluring. She’d be going to a cool high school with no roof and a grand lobby with a fountain and vending machines, which gave her something to brag about with the friends she’d miss so terribly.

My stomach churned every time I thought of losing our home and moving so far away. This was our best choice to get back on our feet financially.  I couldn’t break down and make the children worry. I had to be strong. 

It was November before my husband found a stable job and rented a house for us. Then it was time for me to pack what was left and wait for my husband to come home to load the truck. Off we went on our “adventure” cross-country.

Later, my friends asked how I was able to stay so positive when our lives were completely turned upside down? I honestly didn’t know at the time how to verbalize it. I just took everything I was feeling and used it to power us through this upheaval. 

I learned that I may not be able to change my circumstance, but I can change my attitude.

Can you vow not to complain about anything you can change? Keeping that promise would, indeed, be a challenge. Confiding to a friend provides us with support and validation that would be tough to do without. Whining is venting with no effort to find a positive change.

Have you been able to power through your difficult times? How has that changed you?

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19 thoughts on “Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

  1. Pingback: Better late than never…linky love – Natalie Hartford

  2. Wow! You are an amazing woman, but then we already knew that. I absolutely love that quote about women and tea. I’ll have to remember that one. Your inner strength and ability to remain positive in that life-changing situation is not only to be commended, but remembered when we get into a tight spot and want to just vent. Sometimes a good vent is all you need, but like Natalie said, it’s hard to be around people who are constantly whining and are unable or unwilling to change the situation. That’s a tough one to learn, though. For a lot of people it’s easier to complain than to fix it. I’m more of the vent, fix it, move on, type. Thanks for reposting this!

    • Thanks, Tameri…not amazing, just did what was necessary. I kept a picture in mind of how it could all turn out well. And after that experience, nothing in the future was ever worth whining about.
      I knew you’d be the type to lok for support and then do whatever you needed to do to fix the problem. That attitude not only keeps us healthy but gives our kids a sense that things will be okay.

  3. You are right on all counts Marcia and It sounds like your situation could not have gotten any more stressful! My mantra when things are piling up is “this too shall pass”. Breathe in, breathe out.

    • It wasn’t easy, but I surprised myself at how well we moved through it. Most people have difficult times and with the right outlook and some hard work, they do pass.
      I wish I felt our children’s generation was handling life’s obstacles the same way. It seems that, for many of them, no matter what we’ve taught them, what example we’ve set, they find it more difficult to rely on their own inner strength to get them through than we did.

  4. Hi Marcia,

    Thanks for reposting this great article. I am guilty of having cycled into the whining with recent events. I’m generally a very positive person so my friends and colleagues weren’t sure how to respond to me for awhile. I luckily recognized the toxic effect my new, negative attitude was having on my relationships (No one wants to be around a Wendy Whiner, right?) and determined to put a positive spin on recent events out of my control. Like you, I had to take that energy and use it to cope with the situation until the problem was solved. Change can be difficult, but the recent changes I’ve made in my life have been worth the discomfort.

    I’m proud of how you powered through an exceedingly trying time with grace and courage. But from what I’ve learned of your character through these posts, I’m not all that surprised. 🙂

    • Oh yeah, we’ve all been there. Whether it’s become a habit to whine or whether a lot of sh*& hits the fan all at once, we have to do exactly what you did…turn it around whatever way you can to stop the cycle. Kudos, Jolyse! I’m proud of you, too and hope you feel the satisfaction in knowing you handled things well. Sorry you were having a tough time and I hope things are better now. Thank you for your vote of confidence–you’re such a great friend!

  5. Great post, Marcia. Frustration, anger, and even lack of understanding from others can lead to a chronic complaining, which – in return – makes friends, family, coworkers, etc. run away in a hurry, and staying away. That’s not what we need to keep the healthy, rewarding relationships strong. It’s so easy to throw a fit, but the results are almost always devastating.
    I am quite a calm person but to get this way it took me many years of self-discovering and learning to understand others. When I’m stressed out, I go for a power walk, listening to a favorite audiobook. It works wonders for me. Chocolate helps immensely too 🙂

    • You’re right, Angela. We do need to find what works for each of us…chocolate is always on my list! You seem to have the process nailed in order to shake off the negative feelings before they cause damage. *high five*

  6. There must be something in the water…errr…wine.

    It seems that more than one of us are touting the benefit of controlling the things we can – our attitude and how we handle situations. Great post!

  7. I absolutely love this post. It’s about each of us recognizing our own inner power to alter our universe and it’s so true. I’ve come through obstacles that I thought, at the time, were insurmountable. But they weren’t. And it was within me to decide if I wanted to become bitter and cynical and wear my anger and victimhood like a badge of honor so I could show people just how bad I had it…and complain non-stop…or I could change my perspective, get a new attitude, grow a set of balls and get the hell over it!! I opted for growth.
    I do find I still complain sometimes a bit too much! I’ve often caught myself and said to hubby “well, if I don’t want to do something about it, I gotta shut up about it. Put up or shut up!” And I think I do! I like that about me. 🙂
    I struggle with people who seem complacent to spin in the constant circle of misery and I never want to be one of them. If there’s an issue, I deal with it, let it go, move on…life’s too short to waste it being unhappy!
    All aboard the happiness (positive attitude) train…woot woot!

    • Thanks, Natalie. The saying that, “A woman is like a tea bag in that you don’t know how strong she is until she’s in hot water.” is sooo true! Sorry you had to endure some difficult times, but I guess we all do at some point in our lives. Then there’s the other saying, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” 🙂 Constant whining is for wimps, and *looking around* I don’t see any of those around here!

    • Hi Marcia…I love your post today as well! Does it count that I have the flu and can’t think straight so I accidently reblogged you? 🙂 Sorry for the confusion. You’re awesome too!

      • Accidentally or not, thanks for the reblogging! I was confused because I couldn’t see where you reblogged mine or Kristen’s. Anyway, sorry you’re under the weather and maybe you should steer clear of sharp objects until you feel better. 🙂

  8. One time a friend asked me, “What do you do when you get really, really mad? Put your hands on your hips and lightly stomp your foot?” I try hard to keep my thoughts and emotions in a good place but probably carry it a little too far. I still have my moments of anger and anxiety but I’m not at expressing them.

    • That’s how my mom always was. Her big fit was to throw dishtowels on the floor! If you’re able to keep it to yourself but also let it go by rationalizing or forgiving, that can be a healthy way for you. But if keeps stirring inside you, you might want to find a way to release the anger in a way that you’re comfortable with…maybe writing it all down in a journal or punching your pillow…and throwing dishtowels at the floor seemed to work for my Mom. 🙂 Just don’t hold onto the stress and make yourself sick.

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