tired of whining!?
Updated: Apr 17, 2019
When the family got together for holidays when I was growing up, I remember the women all talking in the kitchen loudly with a certain whine to their voice. Within our family it was known that my Grandmother and all her daughters had perfected what we all called the Cope whine. It sounded a bit like sandpaper or fingernails on a chalkboard. If you’re like me it’s the last thing you want to hear because it was the harbinger of guilt, shame and criticism. My mother and her sisters are now gone, but the whine continues. There are moments I hear that same whine coming out of my mouth or singing in my head. Are you tired of hearing your own whine?
Let’s first talk about whining to others. I believe we should limit whining to friends. A friend is in its broadest sense not only friends, but also some, all, or none of your parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, spouse, in-laws, and relatives. If the person doesn’t meet the “friend” category then, don’t whine to them. If you do whine to them, maybe it’s time to ask yourself why do I need to whine to people I really don’t know? Perhaps you’re lonely, or perhaps you need to give yourself more love. Either way it’s important to address the reason you’re feeling the need to whine in this situation.
If the person is a friend, then tell your story - whine, remember how long, and how many times, you told your friend this same story, this same whine? If it’s for long periods, or if it’s frequent, you and the friend need to have a gut check. A gut check is an honest moment. You ask your friend… are you ok if I keep talking about this? The answer will hopefully generate an honest conversation that discusses whether you’ve overtaxed your friendship with your whine.
Our mind is often dominated by the story that is the subject of our whine. Whining is that voice in our heads telling us our fears. This includes the fears that we are unlovable, that we are a loser, a failure. This voice in our heads is called by many names. I call it the internal critic. There are days my internal critic is constantly whining my fears and flaws.
If you’re having a tough time with your internal critic, I recommend writing down the critic’s words for a week. Review what you have written. It is important to challenge the judgments or beliefs that your internal critic whines. Byron Katie’s four questions and a turnaround are a way to question these. There are others. For example, if the internal critic is whining a belief such as you’re a failure, challenge the internal critic by thinking of the situations where you have been and are successful. If your critic is saying your unlovable, think of all the times you have been given love.
After challenging the critic’s words, it’s a positive step to adopt some affirmations. Repeat the affirmations several times a day. To enhance the impact of the affirmations, Louise Hay developed mirror work in which you repeat your affirmations in front of a mirror. Some people also write down their affirmations and place them in prominent places like on the mirror you use or on the front of the refrigerator. My mother did that.
If you feel you would rather talk aloud rather than journal, give your internal critic a voice. One tool is called Voice Dialogue. With this tool, you experience at least two of your voices. One voice is the internal critic, and the other is the voice of what you know in your heart, your soul. If you voice all the negative things your internal critic says, then you can voice the positive things that your heart and soul know are true such as you are perfect child of God. This type of work, Voice Dialogue, was developed by Hal and Sidra Stone.
If your internal critic voices your fears, for example it says you’re unlovable, every human being has this fear, but it is important to challenge this fear if it limits you or prevents you from living life to the fullest. As we learn more about our internal critic you may find some compassion for the critic. The critic is filled with fear. Our fears are a natural part of us that exists in some cases protecting us from feeling disappointed when we don’t get what we want. Compassion melts the fears and allows us to go for what we want in life.
Some people find it very effective to visualize the internal critic. Life coach Mike Bayer uses this practice. My critic is a petulant child that is all dressed up to be beautiful, but her face is all scrunched up, her right arm is pointing at me, and she’s stamping her foot on the floor while lecturing me. It can be very helpful to not only visualize, but to name our internal critic. I call mine Petulant Patty. Then as I start to hear the whine, I “see” Petulant Patty and can identify and stop the whine before it goes on and on.
In this article I briefly touched on some tools that can help you work with your internal critic. One of my goals is to decrease the volume and limit how long my Petulant Patty whines. With time as I decrease the volume of her whine, I can hear her and have compassion for her. Rather than believing her voice to be the harbinger of guilt, shame and criticism, I can now see Patty’s effort to protect me. Our critic becomes an overly protective friend that we hear but not have to be controlled by. My suggestion is get with a life coach who can help you find the tools to decrease your own Petulant Patty and turn her into a friend, not a whining enemy.