Thursday, March 10, 2005

Whining About Whining

The biggest gripe I have about whining is the fact that, well, aside from letting off steam, it serves no purpose. In fact, it can even be detrimental at times.

First and foremost, we must realize that it's so easy to complain. I can complain about the weather, about the government, about my teachers, about my coworkers or classmates, and in the end, it'll serve no purpose. Whatever problems I have will still be there once everything's said and done. What did I gain? Absolutely nothing. In fact, I just wasted my breath instead of doing something more productive, such as taking steps to solve the problem. Whining is pretty much like masturbation: it's pleasurable initially, but in the long run, it's not practical and you're diminishing something within you.

Second, whining is actually detrimental. I mean when we whine, more often than not, we're criticizing someone other than ourselves. If that's the case, we're badmouthing someone else. It's well and good if the other party never gets to hear it. But more often than not, our past comes back to bite us in the ass. Whining publicly is just inviting that danger. Heck, whining publicly and keeping a record of it (such as blogging) is tempting fate. I mean thieves know that they must cover their tracks in order to avoid detection. Whining is like screaming "here I am, come after me!"

Okay, maybe you're not criticizing someone else. Maybe you're criticizing yourself. You might be saying I should have done this or that. Or telling yourself how much an idiot you are. Aside from wasting your breath, what does that do? You might be saying it's not hurting anyone. Wrong! You're hurting yourself. You're hurting your self-esteem, your self-confidence. Now occasional doubt and accepting your mistakes is good. But doubt and accountability is different from berating yourself. With the latter, you're tearing up your own persona, reducing your accomplishments to insignificance. Let's put it this way, you're not only hurting yourself, but you're also broadcasting it to other people. If you're fishing for compliments or looking for comfort from your friends, that's one thing. But if you honestly think that you're the scum of the earth, well, your friends will eventually start believing in that if you don't change soon.

Third, there's also this idea in economics called opportunity costs. The premise is simple: I give up one thing to gain another. When you whine, you just gave up something in order to rant. Take blogging for example. What did I expend in whining? There's bandwidth, memory, Internet fees, and time. Honestly, rather than spending the last 20 minutes bitching about my day, it could have been spent doing something else productive (like downloading mp3s… not that I condone that, just using it as an example). And let's face it, no one really thinks that whining is good. When you whine, it's like you're paying someone to kill you slowly by slowly (well, we do that by smoking and excessive drinking but you don't really need to add another vice to the list). There are probably cheaper poisons in the world.

Fourth, whining is contagious. When I start whining, other people start whining as well. As I said earlier, nothing is easier than to criticize. It doesn't take intelligence, it doesn't take creativity, and it certainly doesn't take empathy. Whining is like gossip: once you start it, other people start sharing their own gossip as well and it spreads. I mean the proverbial story is that some guys go out and have a drink so that they can free themselves from their woes. What they end up doing is spilling out their guts to each other, each one trying to best the other person's hardships in life. Honestly, that's not really uplifting. And the best-case scenario is that you realize that while you're not at the bottom heap, you're still considered trash. Don't drag other people into it. It's bad enough when you go about it solo.

Fifth, whining doesn't do much for your social life. You'll most likely turn off a lot of people and those that you do attract are either whiners themselves or people who pity you. While being pitied is disgraceful, at least those kinds of people will try to change you. But if you're stuck with whiners, well, don't expect your life to take a drastic change anytime soon. Whiners aren't winners for a reason: instead of spending their energy getting back up, all they do is complain.

If I'm against whining so much, why am I whining? Because this serves a purpose. This is a message that's to be publicized. Hey, if you whine less because of this, I've already done my job. If you still whine and whine, well, at least you can't whine about ignorance. Take it from a professional whiner: do yourself a favor and get your act together. Instead of whining, all that frustration could have been channeled to something more productive.

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