All of us have trouble sometimes in our struggle to reach where we want to be, we all suffer setbacks and lulls in progress that make the journey feel like a trial rather than the joyous thing that it truly is. When it comes right down to it, we all whine about it sometimes, which is just a natural act for us, as the act of complaining has been ingrained in us by our culture for most of our life. Think about the adage we hear time and time again in our lives, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” If you think about it, is there is any bigger encouragement to complain and whine than that saying? To me there isn’t; it is an excuse that if you don’t like something, then bitch about it enough and someone will fix it for you. This is reprehensible! It is ditching our own responsibility and dumping our problems in the laps of other people. It is time that we take that responsibility back and become whole people again.

    The key here is to know what is a whine or a complaint and what actually a problem that needs to be fixed. This is a real key to living our lives because it requires understanding and accepting our sphere of influence. Our sphere of influence is that area in which our actions can have an effect. As we exercise our influence in that sphere, we are going to find that it will continue to grow and grow and we can direct the way that it grows, but we have to realize and understand our own sphere, in order to understand how to interact with the world in a positive and uplifting way. The things that fall in our sphere of influence is going to be the base of our responsibility. When it comes right down to it, if any portion of the problem we face falls in that sphere, then we only have ourselves to blame for it going wrong and we only have ourselves to take actions to fix it. We can request assistance, but the responsibility for it is our own. This is where the difference occurs between a problem and a whine. If it is in our sphere and we complain about it, we are whining and wanting someone else to be responsible for us and our action. We are taking our own power away from us and hoping someone benevolent will pick it up for us. This is a terrible way to live a fulfilled life.

    If the problem falls outside our sphere of influence, we have a couple options. We can realize this and judge that the problem isn’t worth our effort to correct and move on with our lives, or we can take steps to correct the problem. Taking steps to fix the problem is going to take collaboration with someone that has a sphere that encompasses the problem. This isn’t whining anymore, as we are choosing to take action and responsibility for the problem and in many cases we are going to be forced to expand our sphere of influence to encompass the problem. This is a growth thing and we need to be conscious of what we are doing before we find that our sphere is so large that we can’t do anything but put out fires within it. Growth should always be deliberate.

    Finally, we all need to vent sometimes.  This is the act of getting all our complaints and whines about something out in a way that will let the negative emotions go without expectation that someone else will fix them for us. I usually do this listening to loud music while I am driving. It gives me a safe place to release it all and then come back to the world ready to actually do something about the issues. Some people, like xiaoyi, usually need someone to listen to the rants so that she can move on. The way she makes that work is by being very clear that what she is doing is venting and that she needs that  person to listen. Find a method that you can use so that you can move forward in life and change those complaints in your sphere into accomplishments as you solve them and move towards a more fulfilling life.