Looking Forward to a Good Whine?

What do you look forward to in life? Have you noticed how you may be excited to see some friends, but dread running into other people? One reason might be the energy and attitude those people bring to the party, regardless of it being encouraging or depressing.

Granted, we all have those times when we’ve over-planned and over-scheduled our lives. We may be living the life we love, but have gotten out of balance by too much work and not enough relaxation time. That can lead to us becoming cranky and irritable, with a tendency of leaning toward having a good whine.

It starts out innocently enough. Someone asks us about our day and before we know it the flood gates of all that bothers us come surging forward. We go into excruciating detail – most of it unnecessary – and the bottom line is that we just want someone to feel sorry for us.

The problem with that line of reasoning is that we’re asking the other person to validate our own actions, the over-planning and over-scheduling, that got us into the situation in the first place.

We want someone else to pity us and, like it or not, we can slip into being very whiny … and VERY annoying. We become the type of person we ourselves don’t want to be around. But don’t we have the right to whine now and then?

I used to have a prayer partner years ago. If one of us had the need to whine the other one would set a timer. We had five minutes to verbally hurl all over the other one. But when five minutes was reached that conversation stopped. “I’m not done yet!” one might exclaim, but the other would counter with, “Yes, you are. Now what’s the Truth?”

Whining and other less productive ways of complaining are examples of two actions:  focusing on the problem and playing the victim. What we focus on increases; focus on the problems, the injustice, or the inequities and we get more of the same. But turn our full attention to solutions and violá – those appear.

And, while we may be a victim from time-to-time through unforeseen circumstances or our own doing, we do ourselves a disservice by staying in that mindset any longer than is necessary. One might ask if it’s ever necessary. That’s something for each of us to determine. Everything we do – whether it seems productive or destructive, positive or negative – has a measure of value for some reason in the scheme of things we call life.

Perhaps having a good whine every so often is like having a good cry. Our whining might just lead to a good laugh when we realize how ridiculous we sound, just like a good cry can rid our body of toxic chemicals through the release of our tears. Would you be willing to observe your own whining today? Don’t judge yourself, just observe whether or not you’d like to listen to what you’re saying or thinking. Oh, yeah, forgot that part. Most of our whining is in our own heads. Cool – nothing like setting ourselves up to lose without the help of anyone else, right?

Here’s a great note from the wise Mike Dooley. It speaks to how we seem to have a bit more to whine about these days than ever before:

What we're seeing is the "storm before the calm," spontaneous and unpredictable flares of individual and collective angst, caused by a pent up demand for a more fair and just world. The temporary blockage, however, has come from many expecting a broken system to fix itself, instead of realizing only individuals can do that.

Our choice. Our decision. Our life. All we have to do to change our experience is change our thoughts and actions. Let’s be less concerned about what others are doing that we view as wrong, and be more concerned about what actions we are taking to affect the changes we desire.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

This message may be re-printed, copied and/or forwarded without permission, as long as the content is not altered in any way and credit is given to the author.

Eavesdropping is So Enlightening

We live in a small town. The main post office is quite neighborly, with many of the patrons chatting back and forth while waiting in line. The line one day this week was quite long. I was able to pass the time listening to what other people were saying. Oh stop gasping, for heaven’s sake – it’s not like they were trying to be private!

Here are some of the comments I overheard:

  • “I’m doing good. It beats the alternative!”
  • “It just keeps getting worse and worse. Floods, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes. What’s next?”
  • “You oughta know by now I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.”
  • “She needs to put a smile on her face, that one does.”
  • “It don’t matter. Nothing does.”

Each of these folks believed what they were saying. They came in all colors, ages, socioeconomic status and educational levels. The majority of the other comments showed a range of despair, resignation or fear.

The expressions accompanying the words resulted in frowns, slumped shoulders and sighs. Rather than judge what these folks should be doing to change their thinking, I chose to think about what negative self-talk I had engaged in that morning.

I am my own worst critic. I am particular about many things, often fighting my anal-retentive or dogmatic tendencies about certain tasks, and must remind myself daily that no matter how hard I try I will simply never please everyone. Putting myself down, however, doesn’t help the situation.

Would you be willing today to take just one hour and listen to what is going on inside your head? Ask yourself if that is what you want to believe. Think about what the reaction would be from a good friend if you talked that way to them.

Hopefully your thoughts are filled with encouragement, praise and support. If not, consider what it would take to lovingly guide yourself back onto the path you wish to travel!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

Celebrating Our Failures

There is a danger about living our lives in a positive way. What’s that, you ask?

We may feel ashamed when things don’t turn out the way we thought they would. We might feel that if our desires are sincere then the outcome should be assured. To avoid the pain we may even refuse to admit the situation.

“What a wonderful opportunity I’m having,” we may say when our experience goes south. Okay, I get it. I know bad events, even tragedies, can turn out months or years later to have a blessing of some kind. But stay with me.

What I want to suggest is that we start being a little more willing to use the “F” word in our daily lives. Not that “F” word! This one:

FAILURE

“But we don’t fail! It’s just a success that didn’t work.” Oh for God’s sake! I couldn’t ever quite put this into words the right way until I read Beth Kanter’s article in the Harvard Business Review, “Go Ahead, Take a Failure Bow.” It finally showed me just how positive a failure can be!

Kanter quotes the work of psychologist Sol Rosenthal who shows how a index finger wags at us or how we wag our index finger at someone else. Instead of using the failure as a way of bettering ourselves, we can easy blame others, be blamed or blame ourselves.

Even more harmful is to ignore the situation altogether. It’s that SEITL Syndrome – “Smelly Elephant in the Livingroom” Syndrome. Just keep ignoring it and it will go away or at least after a bit of time we’ll get used to the smell.

There are going to be times when what we do just doesn’t work out the way we planned. Instead of trying to make a sow’s ear into a silk purse, we can happily throw our arms up in the air and shout with pride, “I FAILED! I FAILED!” It’s not about blame; it’s about taking responsibility for the result. Then we laugh at the situation or foibles and decide what we can learn from the mess in front of us to move closer to what we really want.

Kanter’s approach works in a business environment or a personal one. It gives us permission to make mistakes on our way to success! How refreshing is that, instead of shaming ourselves or others?

I invite you to rejoice and celebrate a failure of your own some kind this week. If you have a moment or two, give Kanter’s article a look-see at:  https://hbr.org/2013/04/go-ahead-take-a-failure-bow

boa

I promise you won’t be disappointed. I especially liked the joyful funeral eulogy to the death of the failure and the staff that wears pink boas to celebrate their failures!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry

Who Supports You?

Are you one of these persons that everyone calls in a crisis? Do you know just what to say and when? Have been there to take charge and calm the mob from burning the town?
Perhaps not the later, though if you’ve done that do email me the details – I’d love to know about it! But if you’re reading this the rest of previous paragraph probably describes you. I know it clearer speaks about many of my readers who I know personally. The question is, To whom do you turn to when times get tough?
It can be a difficult question to answer, particularly if you are a leader, a minister, a supervisor, or just that one particular person everyone thinks has it all together all the time. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I will. I’ve been seen that way since I was 17 years old. At the time I had a real problem that finally came to light. The people who helped me had no idea anything was wrong. “We thought you had the world by the tail,” I was told.
I didn’t. I couldn’t find my own tail let alone anyone else’s. I was fortunate and blessed to have people who cared enough about me to intervene in my life and stop what was fast becoming a downward spiral. The fact is, however, it doesn’t have to get that bad to be dangerous.
Is there something in your life that you keep putting on hold? Something that bothers you, that you know you ought to take care of, yet something you never seem to have the time or strength to address? If so, I encourage you to reach out today for some kind of support to get you through whatever the issue is. It may be contacting a counselor or minister for guidance. I might just be coffee with a friend. Whatever it is for you, please take the time to take care of yourself.
I can’t force you to do this, but would you be willing this week to do just one simple, loving thing that is just for you? In other words, take some time to bask in a completely selfish act of some kind that nurtures, revitalizes and pleases you. If it’s something you’d like to share, skip down to the bottom and leave a comment. Who knows, perhaps that one thing you do this week will be just what someone else is looking for to help themselves! Have a great week!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry