Do you ever just want to whine??


Do you ever just want to whine??

If you’ve got yourself tuned into any positive psychology blogs, any “take charge of your happiness” message boards, or receive self-improvement tweets from anyone, you’re probably getting similar messages to the ones in my box.  They go something like “make the best of things”, “sure this is a long really cold winter in the North Country, but spring in coming, think warm thoughts” or “change happens, learn what you can from it”.

I’ve written lots of them myself, but sometimes don’t you just want to whine?  I’m mean to really just let it out with a sing-song-y grating tone, standing in your best victim body posture, letting out big moaning sighs and wishing someone would just hand you a big  chocolate bar and tell you to go home and read a trashy novel!  I’ve felt this way a few times in the last week realizing that I was going to have to put on many layers of clothing against the frigid air.  AGAIN!!!!

We get a lot of guidance to bolster ourselves, to live good and healthy lives, to spend time every day in some reflection, and to express and contribute the best in ourselves.  I’m personally better for all of it, but some days a good moaning and groaning session is just what is needed to release all the snarky-ness that builds up inside from the small and big stuff that comes our way.

We’ve all had our versions of meltdowns or seen them in others.  The child’s bursts of crying and temper tantrums, the adult’s irritated remarks to a service rep, or even the full out yelling at someone who didn’t deserve it like the man I witnessed at an airport gate yelling at the gate attendant for the flight delay.   I mean he really let it rip and everyone at the gate heard it.  It created a lot of discomfort … and compassion for the gate attendant.  I think most of us said something empathic to her, but nobody approached that man.

These things happen when we’ve reached the capacity of things going wrong and then they spill over, ranging from unpleasant to downright mean, nasty, and harmful.  That’s what we risk when we don’t notice the body signals of tension and tightness, the thought processes of criticism and blame, the end of the rope of our tolerance and shift into “I am victim of the world!” mode (which may be a wee bit dramatic, but nobody can tell you that at the moment.) But we can do something about it.

Moaning and Groaning for Fun and Fitness

I suggest a practice of moaning and groaning for fun and fitness.  Get the snarkies out of you.  Release the tension.  Put the victim back in the box.  Loosen and extend the rope of tolerance. Here’s how you do it.

  1.  Put you attention on your body state and notice any tension and tightness.
  2. Notice if your thinking is caught in criticism and blame – the victim-y ticker tape going round and round.
  3.  Pay attention to the any leaks of irritation coming out in words or actions like dismissive flicking of your hands.

You can intervene at any of the above and the sooner you do it, the better.

  1. Give yourself a break, (excuse yourself if you’re with others)  get up, walk around, go to another room, close the door.
  2.  Then let it out.  Let out an audible moan, then groan, then moan and groan more until you feel relieved.  This could go on for a bit of time.  Just let yourself do it.  It’s a whole lot better to take charge of it than the alternative of either taking it out on yourself or on others.  You might even start laughing and having fun with it.  In fact, I recommend it.  Using moaning and groaning as a way to get to enjoyment again.
  3. Then go back to what you were doing with your creative energy moving a whole lot easier.

Enjoy your life today.  Give yourself a good moan and groan if you need it.

About the author

Suzanne Kilkus

Suzanne Kilkus is a Soto Zen meditation practitioner and teacher and has practiced as a therapist and counselor for over three decades. She is dedicated to assisting people in expanding their capacity for giving and receiving love, and for recognizing and expressing their basic goodness in everyday life. Her path to live with wholehearted compassion and care is an invitation to everyone. She is a teacher with Open Door Zen Community in Madison, WI.