How to Stop Whiny Behavior (My Own)

whiny behavior

No More April Whine

April reminded me that I have a problem with whiny behavior. I didn’t think I had one—after all, I keep a gratitude journal (and after filling one volume, I started a fresh one in April) and a generally upbeat attitude. And yet. I let April grab me by the horns and wrestle me down a time or two. It all started with the wind.

I’m not a big fan of the wind. We’ve had four days of severe windstorms—the kind that dry your teeth out the second you smile and fill your scalp with gritty pieces of sand. Every window and doorway fills with fine red dirt, and if one should forget to close a window tightly, everything within two feet of the inside of the window acquires a layer of red as well.

During the last windstorm, as I bent at the waist to walk against the wind from building to building on campus, I pushed right on by our newest staff member—a recently discharged vet who’s khaki colored fatigues reminded me that he has served his country in far worse windstorms than the ones we have in Holbrook.

Yeah. About my whining. The next time the wind blows I think I’ll thank a vet for selflessly serving our country instead of bemoaning the extra housekeeping chores in my cozy little home.

I caught myself engaged in inward whiny behavior when I noticed that my favorite sandals have lost their sole. I fretted about the expense of buying a new pair and bemoaned the fact that things like shoes wear out. That’s when I realized that those Birkenstock sandals have lasted me approximately 3.9 years. I wear them at least once a day (combined with wool socks they make a geeky, but serviceable pair of slippers in the house). So, basically, I pay a penny a day to have comfortable sandals. No reason to whine there! I rejoice that some manufacturers still care about their products and strive to make products that last.

My physical limitations brought on my third bout of whiny behavior when I clumsily twisted my ankle early in the month. I indulged in a fair amount of bellyaching about how that injury would impede my plans. After all, I had a canyon to hike and a race to run—who has time for injuries? And then I saw a Facebook post that a former student’s father had passed away at 74. Unbeknownst to me, the father had struggled with dementia from the time he was 64. Another Facebook friend’s daughter ended up back in the hospital—again. For the past five years this young lady has struggled with the after-affects of a near-death experience and a traumatic brain injury. She’s confined to a wheelchair most of the time. Who am I to whine and complain when God has blessed me with health and limbs that work?

The wind humbled me and helped me realize that it takes vigilance to keep whiny behavior from creeping into my life. From now on out, I’ll do to myself what I did with our daughters when they were young: Have the whinies? Take a time out to rethink the negative attitude. I don’t know why it took me so long to implement taking a time out in my own life!

How to stop your whiny behavior--take a time out to think an opposite thought! Click To Tweet

What about you? Are there certain situations where you could benefit from a time out?

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • No lack of honesty here in this post!
    What helps me with curbing the whines is the idea that if I share every negative thought, I’m dragging down the people I love. Negativity is something I struggle with, and there are days when I just have to say to myself,”No opinions today, Michele. You can’t trust yourself. . . ”
    These are the days when I’m thankful to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, because I know my bootstraps aren’t strong enough to endure that kind of pulling!
    Michele Morin recently posted…On the Run from ISISMy Profile

    • 🙂 You make me smile, Michele! I like your ‘No opinions today’ line–I think all too often I trick myself into thinking that my opinions are good and valid, when in reality they are just me whining.
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…What I Wish Christians Knew About PTSDMy Profile

  • I can whine with the best of them. I call it my pity party. Sometimes I feel I just need to “go there” to get it all out of my system and then I can move on. It really doesn’t accomplish anything except waste some time. I think it makes me feel better until I am humbled by someone else’s situation. Thank you for reminding me that we are called to gratitude because God has blessed us with so much.
    Mary Geisen recently posted…What’s Next? ~ PurposeMy Profile

  • Amazing how God brings us those reminders that things are never as bleak as we think. He’s reminded me lately that nothing that I face can ever compare to what He faced for me. But still, the whining moments come and so grateful for a God who loves us anyways. 🙂
    Tiffany Parry recently posted…When “Still” Feels Like a ThreatMy Profile

  • I hear you loud and clear, Anita!

    Instead of a One Word a year or two ago I had an UNWord. And it was whiny.

    Maybe we’re related?

    ;-}
    Linda Stoll recently posted…April * The Fun Stuff!My Profile

  • When I look at my whining from the outside it looks like the ugly behavior of a preschooler. That helps me stop! Thanks for sharing.

  • Poppy Don

    You know how doting dads are, they want to fix every problem. So the first thing that struck me in this post was the geeky footwear. and I wondered, I wonder if she wears those wool socks over the feet or over the Birkies?” If they were OVER the Birkies it would hold her soul (spelling is not a mistake) in place, and protect her floors.”
    Your mom has had this very problem with her favored Birkies several times through the years and we have patched and glued and griped to no avail. Finally, I told her to get over it already, they’ve served you well, start breaking in a new pair.
    We ALL have bouts of the whinys. I think it is a built-in desire for perfection that God has placed within us, that is being thwarted by sin, that brings it on.
    On the other hand, it may be our sin-encrusted desire to have things “my way,” that is being thwarted by God’s will, that we are pushing against! Either way it is an unhealthy attitude to harbor.
    Thanks again for a great post!

  • I think even adults need a “time out” chair.
    Susan Shipe recently posted…red – the color of hope!My Profile

  • Think an opposite thought. That’s right. My counselor told me I have 30 seconds to seize a thought before it settles into the womb of my heart. That requires vigilance. Like U said. Replace it the moment it starts so the weeds don’t multiply.
    Somer recently posted…#PassMy Profile

  • Isn’t this the truth. I find myself doing this same thing….Whining about real tough 1st world problems. I so need to watch my tone and my words spoken to no one but heard by little ears in the home. It’s with constant vigilance I have to watch my tongue. I have been reminded of Psalm 19:14 – “may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord my God.” Thanks for this reminder.
    Rachel recently posted…How to live through Mother’s Day when Mom is goneMy Profile

  • I was just talking about this with my daughter a little while ago. When we choose gratitude over griping perspective shifts and we step forward in a freedom that only comes when we choose to give thanks. Do you still want an anxiety post for mental health month? Can you send me the details?

  • Yep. Whiny over here too! I needed a wake up call today.
    Sarah Donegan recently posted…Pause Before Doing DamageMy Profile

  • Oh yes, it’s so easy to whine and most of my whines are, as the previous reader has mentioned, 1st world problems. I have nothing I should complain about. Instead, I have a lot by God’s grace – totally undeserved – to be thankful about. Thanks for this reminder.