I would like to address the so-called No Whining Zone. As a well-known kvetch, this is obviously a subject near and dear to my heart. After great reflection, I have come to the conclusion that they do not work.
I understand the appeal of a No Whining Zone. It can be tiresome to listen to other people kvetch. And however much you think it will help you to express yourself, maybe it would be better sometimes, well, not to.
One must also acknowledge that many of us do not admit to whining in the first place. I think this is how I put it one other time: I have legitimate concerns, you like to complain, that one is a whiny baby. I personally will cop to being a kvetch. I just like the word.
So, having established that some of us… complain, let us address the purpose of the No Whining Zone. Is it a negative one: that is, NOT to have to listen to other people complain? Or is it a positive one: to concentrate instead on constructive thoughts and solving problems?
I know for some people it is the former; they just don’t want to hear it, and they don’t really care who may be going through what. I prefer the latter. What, in fact, does the No Whining Zone accomplish?
When I express a pain, discomfort, problem or complaint and hear, “NO WHINING ZONE!” my feelings (delicate at the best of times) are hurt. And my rebellious nature kicks in (it is a well-known human propensity to IMMEDIATELY want to do the one thing we are told not to). I might respond with something like, “I’ve got a right to kvetch!” or “The more you complain, the longer God lets you live!” etc.
However, if you present me with a viable alternative, I will take it under advisement. For example, instead of a No Whining Zone, how about a Positive Thoughts Zone? Instead of just shutting down complaints, could we transform them into solutions.
For example (I’m giving a lot of examples today), suppose I say, “I hate hot weather!” Your reply could be, “Since this is a Positive Thoughts Zone, why don’t you try to think of some things you like about summertime?”
Well, I would probably start out with, “I like it when it stays light later.” From there I would think about my container garden, evenings sitting on my deck, comfortable early morning runs. I would soon be feeling better about the whole thing. And, BONUS: You would no longer have to listen to me kvetch!
I think the real problem with a No Whining Zone is that you are trying to fight a negative with a negative. I think a better strategy is to transform the negative with a positive.
There might be some readers out there who think this is a really dumb idea that will never work, or that it is all a huge rationalization from a whiny baby. If that is the case, by all means, comment below. For my part, I will strive to come up with something nice to say back.