...Or How to Become One
Hi, my name is Gisele... and I’m a functional whiner.
What’s a functional whiner, you may ask? It’s someone who uses whining as a tool for venting, but still manages to roll up their sleeves and do what needs to be done.
Some people are brought up to believe that they should be strong, they should toughen up, and they shouldn’t complain about stuff. Those with that kind of upbringing end up by internalizing their feelings and emotions, and often blow up in anger or get sick a lot.
On the other end of the spectrum, others grow up being enabled to whine about everything and everyone, and regard themselves as constant victims. They can’t seem to complete anything they start or achieve much in life.
Ideally, we should work towards finding a balance between practicing resilience when faced with life’s challenges and allowing ourselves to express what we feel during our weak moments. That includes being able to whine a bit.
Whining can help unclutter the brain and clear the space for imagination and innovation, including finding creative solutions for life’s problems.
One of my main mottos is: “It ain’t worth doing if you can’t whine about it.” However, I live by important whining rules that help create that balance between safely expressing myself and still being able to achieve my goals. Hence, the Functional Whiner.
The Functional Whiner Rules for Proper Whining Etiquette:
1) Choose the right ears to whine to. Try not to whine to the same person all the time; even if that person is someone whom you really can count on, such as your spouse or partner, another family member or your best friend. Spread the “joy” around! Sometimes, your journal can be your ears.
I also suggest trying the morning pages exercise mentioned by Julia Cameron on her book The Artist’s Way. This exercise, also known as brain drain or mind dump, is an effective tool for uncluttering the brain and sparking creativity.
2) Limit your allowed “whine” time. After all, you have to leave room on your schedule for the rest of... you know, life. If left unchecked, whining can surround you with an aura of negativity, consume you, and take over your life.
3) Whine... but always follow a whining session with a positive action step. In other words: Whine about what you have to do... and then do it, anyway. That’s called whining with a purpose!
4) Don’t whine-shame yourself (or others) and don’t accept whine-shaming. You gotta do what you gotta do to get yourself motivated and ready for action. If whining is one of your tools of choice, own it! As long as you use it well and don’t abuse the privilege, whining can actually help you move forward. But remember, if you dish it out, you also have to be able to take it.
5) Don’t over-whine; especially if you’ve already worn out all your available ears, and even your journal would refuse to open its pages to your woes, if it had a choice. At a certain point, it will be time for less whining and more action.
6) Don’t get caught up on the blame game during your whining session. Although you can certainly mention the perceived or real injustices and offenses from others in passing during your whining session, this exercise isn’t supposed to be about anything or anyone else but yourself and your own need to express your take on the unfairness of life. The main purpose here is to let it all go and move on after you’re done whining; so it wouldn’t help to get stuck in the blaming and finger-pointing part, right?
7) Select-whine (or Serenity-whine). As the Serenity Prayer goes, everyone has to learn to accept things they can’t change, build the courage to change what they can, and understand how to tell the difference. Obviously, it’s best to whine about things you can change, as you can use whining as a spring board to take some positive action steps about the things you do have control over.
8) Use whining as a tool, not an excuse. Venting off helps. Doing it to the point that you see yourself as the eternal victim and get paralyzed or lost in the whining phase, doesn’t.
9) Hire a professional you can whine to. The most attentive and helpful ears are usually the ones you pay for! You’re much more likely to receive useful advice, effective tools and guidance about your next positive steps from qualified professionals.
10) Whine not? Ideally, try to build up to the point where whining isn’t needed any longer. Even when properly used as a helpful tool, whining still takes a lot of time and energy that could be better used somewhere else...
Until then, whine away! Just start doing it more functionally and join the Functional Whiner club!
FYI, I still use whining as a tool... Something else to continue working on... ;)
© Gisele Marasca-Vargas; 05/14/22
Photo by Gundula Vogel on Pixabay
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Holidays have always been emotionally loaded times; but everything that’s been happening in the world seems to have escalated the overload level in the past couple of years… Many of us find ourselves caught between wanting to have a good time with family during the supposedly cheerful holiday season, and having a gloomy idea of what that’s really going to look like…
All of us have issues to work through and resolve; however, it’s also true that some family members and close friends seem to bring more than their share of drama to the table. If we’re able to avoid getting together with people who need their fix of DDD (Daily Dose of Drama) to survive, and who tend to suck the energy right out of the room and trigger us in the process, sometimes that can be the best option. But this might not be possible without avoiding the rest of the family, or creating more issues and drama ourselves. In that case, those necessary encounters can always be used as opportunities to continue healing issues and improving ourselves, as follows:
- We can learn how to process our own emotions. Everything that happens to us reflects or mirrors something that we’re either reflecting back, or that needs more understanding and deeper healing within ourselves. Observing our triggered emotions and learning to express them constructively in a safe space are the first steps in the process of re-framing, healing and releasing them. Sometimes, professional guidance may be necessary.
- We can watch and avoid repeating old patterns of behavior. When we are with family with whom we still have unresolved issues, we tend to fall back into the same old patterns we’ve been repeating with them for a long time. Rather than falling into that same trap for the umpteenth time, we can choose to observe and deconstruct those patterns. Before reacting to a family member who did something to trigger us, let’s stop and think: Have I acted out or reacted in a similar way to the same person or situation before? How did that work out for everyone involved? Was it really worth it? If not, why would I want to do the same thing again? What can I do differently this time? At any given moment, we all have the choice to react to an old issue in a completely renewed (and hopefully more effective and constructive) way. Sometimes the answer is simply to not engage. Believe me, that takes a whole lot more discernment, sensitivity, perception and courage than acting out, reacting or overreacting in the usual manner.
- We can draw strong boundaries. Even if we have to be in the same place with someone we have issues with, that doesn’t mean that we have to engage or allow ourselves to be energetically and emotionally engaged by that person; we can still exchange polite greetings and partake in casual conversation without being dragged into the drama vortex.
- We can find a quiet place and connect with our inner voice or guidance, giving ourselves a break to reset, recharge and refocus before dealing with the person(s) or situation again.
- We can approach people and situations with caution, rather than fear. After being burned by the same people and situations over and over, it’s a normal reaction to start fearing and expecting the worst of any form of engagement. However, the “fear” language comes from the ego and just brings more of the same, along with its siblings, anger, resentment, paranoia, etc. On the other hand, the language of love only begets more love. Love always wins. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to just go out there and expose ourselves to harmful and hurtful people and situations. But even choosing to be cautions from a place of love and compassion is more positive and constructive than anything that comes from a place of fear.
- We can choose to not intentionally harm or hurt. That can be tempting, if we’ve been repeatedly harmed or hurt ourselves. Ultimately, though, we carry the energetic load of what we’ve done to others much more heavily than that of what’s been done to us. And who needs that kind of karma?
- We can avoid gossip (and not worry about what they’re saying, either). He said, she said… People who live on drama tend to gossip, lie, take things out of context, embellish or distort facts. Although that can be hurtful, in the end it doesn’t really matter what people are saying about us. Those who truly know and love us won’t pay attention to or believe in untruths, and those who would believe whatever is said without checking the facts or bothering to ask for our version or point of view are not worth having around or be too close to, anyway.
What matters more is what we’re saying about others. Is it positive or negative? Will it add to the dialogue in a helpful and meaningful way or just foster more negativity, separation, discord? Is it coming from love or fear? Let’s keep in mind the energetic load we’re creating for ourselves and others, and choose wisely.
- We can let go of trying to fix or save someone else. We can’t help anyone who’s not ready or willing to help themselves, and we can’t shorten anyone’s path. That would actually rob them of important learning and growing experiences. Each of us needs to be responsible for our own actions and reactions, our own healing and growth.
- We can try your best to feel compassion for that person (or persons) by remembering that everyone of us is doing the best that we can at any given moment. Self-compassion is also a must; that includes giving ourselves a break if we slip and react to someone or to a situation, despite our best intentions. After all, the holidays are about forgiveness, as well…
With all that being said, wishing you a lovely (and loving) holiday season!
© Gisele Marasca-Vargas; 11/30/21
Photo by Frank Busch on Unsplash
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Out-of-control stress is the number one underlying factor to the onset of disease in the body. Aside from the emotional toll stress takes, it also affects our health, says Diane Robinson, PhD, of UF Health Center. However, according to author of The Upside of Stress Dr. Kelly McGonigal, more recent studies show that it's our belief that stress is harmful that can be most damaging; not stress itself. Unfortunately, the reality is that most of us have been conditioned and are convinced of the potentially damaging effects of chronic stress, including the fact that long term stress can, among other things, affect our immune system, compromise the digestive system, lead to depression and result in the general deterioration of health.
So we are aware that stress is not always bad; it's necessary to help us achieve our goals, or as a defense mechanism in case of danger. In addition, we are aware that there are many things we can do to prevent, reduce and cope with stress, such as proper diet, exercise, rest and play time; practicing meditation and relaxation techniques such as yoga and breath work; etc. Now we also know that we can learn to re-direct stress and put it to work for us, instead of against us. So why is it that most people don't take advantage of these solutions?
One of the reasons is that, in our fast paced society, many of us learn to carry stress as a badge of honor, showing to the world (and ourselves) how productive and needed we are. On a physical level, we can also become addicted to the cortisol and adrenaline that get released into our system when we are in "fight or flight" mode. However, not only does the continuous release of these hormones wreak havoc in our bodies, it gets us hooked and looking for more. "Like a drug addict, you need a bigger fix all the time," says Debbie Mandel, a stress management specialist and author of Addicted to Stress.
In addition, the way we perceive and handle time can have a lot to do with how much stress we feel in our lives. According to Gay Hendricks, author of The Big Leap, we need to make the switch from our Newtonian perception of time (which says that there's only a finite amount of time) to Einstein Time (in which time is relative, so we need to take charge of the amount of time we have and realize we are where time comes from). From that perspective, we can then figure out areas in our lives that we are trying to disown and take full ownership of it (in other words, become aware of the fact that our life circumstances stem from ourselves, and we can change them). According to Hendricks, "stress and conflict are caused by resisting acceptance and ownership," and the stress will disappear once we are able to accept and claim ownership of it.
Whichever the causes behind stress, hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool for stress management. Through hypnotherapy we can tap into the subconscious and reprogram unwanted behavior via suggestions. In addition to performing hypnosis sessions for stress reduction, a hypnotherapist can also help the client determine the core issues behind the stress, as well as help break unhealthy habits and patterns. For these reasons, more and more people are seeking hypnotherapy as a safe, noninvasive therapeutic option.
© Gisele Marasca-Vargas; 12/16/2015
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Having trouble sleeping lately?
You're not alone; thousands of people in this country and millions around the world suffer from some type of sleeping disorder. Common causes stem from eating, smoking and drinking habits, as well as other lifestyle choices; drugs and medications; and health issues such as sleep apnea, depression and stress.
Some of the aggravating causes of your inability to calm your mind when you want to sleep may be related to your bedtime habits, such as:
Therefore, to increase your chances of a good night of sleep, observe your night time habits and determine if any of them should be dropped or modified. Here are some suggestions:
Another effective option to deal with sleep trouble is Hypnotherapy, a therapeutic method of healing by using hypnosis. Hypnosis is a trance or altered state of consciousness that's between waking and sleep, and is characterized by increased suggestibility, relaxation and heightened imagination. Whether helping you manage stress, cope with depression or simply direct the subconscious to relax and sleep well, hypnosis is a powerful tool in to consider if you are looking to have a great night of sleep.
© Gisele Marasca-Vargas; 06/02/2014
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash