Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Complaint-Free? NOT!

Our happy car was on its way to West Virginia to visit my in-laws, when Julie, my sister-in-law, spots Katherine’s purple “a complaint free world” bracelet.
“Katherine, have you promised not to complain for 21 days?” she asks her niece.
“What are you talking about?”
“The other day Oprah had on her show the guy who started the movement to wear purple bracelets, to remind yourself not to complain for 21 days. He started with his church, and word spread, and now it’s this huge deal.”
“Ahh,” I said. “That explains the book and the bracelet I got in the mail the other day. Word must be out that I’m a whiner, a professional and prolific whiner.”


“It’s harder than you think.”
“I’m sure it is,” I said, “because you have to cancel all of your plans for three weeks.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you obviously can’t go to therapy. Or if you do, I guess you could say something like, “I don’t really have anything to talk about today because I’ve achieved the perfect balance between motherhood and career, between raising kids and what I see as my ministry of educating people on mental illness. And the sticker-system is working out just great for David’s behavioral issues—except for, you know, yesterday when he hit the babysitter. But, truly, what a gift that was: he has learned to express himself in body language! And I’m given the delightful challenge of finding a new sitter, an activity I just ADORE.”
“I don’t think therapy is complaining.”
“And I’d have to cancel all my doctor’s appointments. Because when my endocrinologist asks me if I’ve been experiencing symptoms of pituitary problems, I’d have to say something like: ‘I have been skipping my periods again, but that means our family can save on the cost of tampons and I can start wearing white again with confidence! I’ve also begun lactating, but how awesome is it to have an in-house dairy bar, and a bra packed with breast pads!’ When she asks me if there were any side effects to the medication I was on before, I could say, ‘Just the pregnant belly effect, but I’ve been dying to pull out my maternity clothes again, and play the how-far-along-do-you-think-I-am? game with friends and family. Yippee!'”
And forget about coffee with friends. Or any conversation that gets too personal, like “What’s new with you?”
“Oh gosh, our family just had the most magnificent opportunity to ride in the ambulance the other day! David has been waiting for his chance ever since little Will got to go in it after he took the polar bear plunge a few years back.”
“I’m sure there are definitions as to what consists of a complaint,” Julie said.
“I’m sure there are. In truth I only read the first sentence of the book: ‘In your hands you hold the secret to transforming your life.’ If I told you why I didn’t have time to read the book in entirety it would sound like I was complaining, so let me just say this: my mission in life is to be real, and that involves a few complaints. I think that not being real is what contributes to so much of our sickness and disease, especially in this country. Everyone feels the need to wear the McDonald’s Happy Meal face all the time. It’s unnatural.”
The First Noble Truth of the Buddha is that suffering exists in life, that there is no getting around the pain. M. Scott Peck began his modern day classic with these three words: “Life is difficult.”
Now maybe I was just born with a relatively low happiness level, or maybe I insist on seeing the cup half empty, or maybe I’m threatened by a guy telling the world not to complain because I make a living from whining. As Eric often points out to me, “What happens if you get totally healthy and normal? There goes our livelihood.”
But I’d like to think otherwise—that I simply honor truth. That means praising God in the happy moments—like yesterday, when David and I picked apples in a beautiful orchard with his school friends. As I looked at him run through the maze of haystacks with that stunning smile of his, I said a prayer of thanksgiving for this blessing. But I also pick up the phone during those times of sheer terror—like the afternoon of Katherine’s 911 call—to reach out for real friends who allow me to tell them how I’m REALLY doing—scared, shaky, confused, and a tad mad at God.
In fact, I may very well design my own bracelets with yellow happy and sad faces that promote honesty, “a real,” take the 21-day challenge. Let’s see which does more good.

  • Larry Parker

    That was perfect, Therese. I wouldn’t have changed a word. I have no complaints ;-P
    Well, maybe I have one — my first paragraph wasn’t nearly enough praise for your SEF. So let me end on a positive affirmation — I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!

  • happy

    you never cease to amaze me with your wonderful blogs.. they truely are a god send…we love you therese!!

  • Linda D.

    Dear Therese,
    Apropo of nothing, well, actually, creativity and writing and moving beyond blue and angels and music and the soul and . . . I am including the lyrics to a Willie Nelson song which has touched me deeply. When I hear him sing this, I am certain he is singing about someone struggling with erratic and unstable moods as do you and your readers at Beyond Blue. Willie considers this (according to liner notes) the best song he has written.
    I just had to share this with you Therese.
    Thank you.
    Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground
    Lyrics (Willie Nelson)
    If you had not have fallen
    Then I would not have found you
    Angel flying too close to the ground
    And I patched up your broken wing
    And hung around a while
    Tried to keep your spirits up
    And your fever down
    I knew someday that you would fly away
    For love’s the greatest healer to be found
    So leave me if you need to
    I will still remember
    Angel flying too close to the ground
    Fly on, fly on past the speed of sound
    I’d rather see you up
    Than see you down
    Leave me if you need to
    I will still remember
    Angel flying too close to the ground

  • Nancy

    This is a wonderfully endearing post. I felt like a bobble-head doll as I was reading it; identifying with all that you wrote. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again – You are NOT a whiner. People who whine want nothing more than an audience to hold hostage in whatever venue then can, and then upon completing their spewing of “stuff”, do absolutely nothing to contribute to help themselves. That is not you. I love your idea of “a real”. Gone are the days of “Leave it to Beaver”, “Father Knows Best” and the illusion of a pefect little life. I have referred people so many times as you did today to Scott Peck’s first three words of “The Road Less Traveled” – Life is difficult. Period.
    That’s in the best of circumstances. You have a grateful heart, and one of your most glowing traits is your willingness to be authentic in a world that prides itself on the illusion of what facade can be created in a ego centered manner. Id,ego, whatever. We have many perfect looking homes in this area with dirty little secrets behind many doors.
    I hurt myself for so long with attempting to hide my flaws, feelings and basically, me. To know that to live in the truth (which was the antithesis to what I was brought up with – shh! keep it all a secret) was the answer to begin the healing process came with it a sense of freedom. Finally. There was a different way. Not that I approach people and say, “Hi – would you like to hear how messed up and flawed I am, and how I am trying to cope with all of this?”
    If I were to be challenged to not complain for 21 days, depending upon the parameters of the challenge, I would have to be in a room of solitary confinement, no interaction with others, have duct tape over my mouth and no access to a computer or telephone. I would then still have to contend with my thoughts.
    There is a tremendous difference from speaking the facts of our lives and what emerges day-to-day, sometimes moment-to-moment, and how we are attempting to process them and deal with them constructively, than to truly whine and do nothing to help ourselves in the process. I know people like that, and you, Therese, are not one of them.
    I know today that I can say that I live a truthful life also. What you see is what you get. I am what I am, and strive to improve. My appraisal can get off the beaten track, and I can misconstrue negative feelings as “bad”, when they’re legtimate reactions to life’s happenings (let alone physical and mental illnesses).
    You are using your life’s experience in such a beneficial and positive manner. Tell Eric not to worry, because as we get well or have a respite from our demons, life continues to happen and unfold. That in and of itself is enough to constitute an ongoing daily blog. Life is a journey, not a destination – old cliche, but true. So, as long as we’re living life, we will always be presented with challenges and how to choose to respond to them. Sharing your truth is a gift. Keep doing what you are doing.
    Thanks for making me smile, once again!

  • lapatosu

    Kvetching is a true art, that I have worked on for years to perfect. And now that I am over 50, I want to be able to enjoy the past time without having to feel guilty. I liked the article.

  • Marquos

    Thanks Therese, for giving me license to be real, to talk, to relate to people. I don’t talk much, have few, make that one friend(s). I don’t talk because I am generally either anxoius or depressed or both most of the time. I have not thought people would want to listen to anything I have to say. I’ll give it a try, speak my mind, maybe someone will listen and I’ll have found a friend

  • Margaret Balyeat

    You did it AGAIN!!!! There are moments reading B,B. when I feel like you have taken iup residence inside my tortured psyche. How else could you know and be able to express so beaurifully the things I feel in the very bowels of my personal abyss? I said once before n an earlier comment/response that I am convinced that snakes inhabit there–a true life twenty-first century illustration of the protocols of the snake pits types of assylums of supposed from the “treatments” past centuries(translate “Bedlam”, and YES, it was an actual physical assylum for the mentally ill in seventeenth/eighteenth cetury London!) Well, today you grabbed one of those deadly adders by the tail and flung it around like a lariat before tossing it out of the black hole How typical a reaction of one of us to assume responsibility for this type of sweepung fad because we’re so negative.(I’ll bet you never entertained the thought that the WW.J,D. bracelets were due to your good qualities, did you? Of COURSE NOT,)

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Forgive me for whining, but I did it AGAIN (Hit the Post icon before I was finished This wonderful(fairly) mew computer of mine is so sensitive that it’s nearly impossible to control at times–I never should have bought it; my old one never betrayed me like this! (How come myfew fibancial/material blessngs have to have a dark side? :)…but, excuse me, there I go whining some more!) The point i was trying to make is that your “whining, which I agree with Nancy is actually non-existent because of your courageous attempt to provide this haven for us all and become the “poster child” for depression by exposing your personal pain to anyone who logs on is in all honesty a POSITIVE thing since it more or less gives the rest of us “permission to air our complaints (And let’s face it, there’s absolutely NOTHING fair about being a card-carrying member of the “Black Hole Society” (Unlike Skull and Crossbones, none of us sought membership here, nor does it afford us any of the perkswhich those”exalted” secret societies do) I’m ready to take on anyone who wants to label you a whiner (Because I’m tired of defending MYSELF?) If that’s the sole advantage of being a depressiveYOU (we?) jave paid for it ten-fold with the “dues” (translate time spent trying to climb out of the hole) and so it’s well-earned! I challene any one of your detractors to spend ONE single MINUTE in the jaws of the dog and not complain afterwards. While i’m sure there’s merit to the concept of a complaint-free time period, its even MORE unrealistic than the W.W.J.D. craze since asking ourselves what Jesus would do implied that we have the CHOICE to determine our reactions tolife’s difficult decisions, which og course we each do while none of us willingly jump into the bared jaws of the dog. It’s equally unrealistic to assume that ant of us can control ur downward spirals as it is to have the audacity to believe that we’re as capable as the son of God was to temper each and every action with selfless love however hard we might try. and I’ll be the first one in line to promise even twenty-EIGHT complaint-free days as soon as someone finds a cure for this illness, though I suspect I’d have to trample other comers under my feet to get to the front of the line! Until that happens, give us a break! Allow is to find what little comfort we can from appreciating the humor of one another’s struggles without labeling us as chronic complainers, especially not the courageous, loving, giving individual who has braved breaking the “secrecy mandate” in her attempt to reach out to the rest of us with a lifeline! I’m an expert on shame, and trust me, if ANYTHING is shameful, THAT unwillingness to be just a LITTLE tolerant is!

  • Wisdum

    Thanks Therese !
    the only thing I would add to that is . . . “(Yeah, right !)” . . Which I know is already there, understood !
    LUV 2 U /LUV 2 ALL

  • Wisdum

    Ahhh crap ! . . there’s more, just dumped this over at Concersation With God (it is amazing how parrallel you are both running, except Neale has his hand out !)
    Hi ALL . . .just want to throw in my two cents, there is already a lot of enLightenment from a lot of you, especially Carmen and Michelle . . .
    for what it’s worth …
    Neale’s Response: Conversations with God says: “Allow each person to walk his path.”
    ** Right on ! Bear in mind that their path may not be your path, and in marriage (the joining of two or more dissimilar objects or people as one/One) that can in reality, present some very serious con-flicts, but also pro-flicts (although I haven’t got a clue what the hell a “flict” is !… I know what a “flic” is, and some of them are very interesting, or not !)
    that represents a compromise between the two when such a compromise is practical and possible.
    ** Exactly ! The “when possible” is what makes for a very sticky situation. In counseling we had a discussion about “com-promise”, after going 3/4 around the room it came to me and I answered “There is no such thing as compromise !” Somebody has to surrender. If I want to paint a room red, and my wife wants to paint it white, we do not compromise and paint it pink!”
    if who they are is not in concert or in harmony with who you are, then you have a choice to move on and be true to yourself.
    ** Right on ! Life/Freewill is ALL about choices, no matter what the fertilizer of organized religion has sprinkled or dumped upon our heads since the age of reason (or not !)
    “Betrayal of the Self, is the Highest Form of Betrayal.”
    ** That’s why God is the One/ALL/Whole. . . He’s a multiplicity of Freewill running around everywhere unable to decide what and who He is … except “I AM Love” … and “Love conquers ALL !”, by accepting and Being the ALL/the One/the Whole
    I think those are very important words to live by.
    ** Or not !
    LUV 2 ALL

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Your insight and crackerjack sense of humor never cease to amaze me! At times, to be (brutaly) honest, I find myself wonderin if you are truly a member of our not-so exclusive club because you seem to have so many things so together. I can’t tell you how much reading your comments usually (translate ALMOST ALWAYS) help me in my personal journey. Thank you for keeping me mindful that “mental illness” doesn’t have to mean totally clueless about everything. God bless you, whomever christened you with your moniker was right on!

  • zana

    I’m with you folks about most of things, and maybe this is just the Catholic in me, but when it comes to making decisions like staying in a marriage or not, continuing to parent long after the “rosy glow” (or half empty adjective/nouns has worn off and choosing the high road which seems to more often than no be the hard road, exercising our freewill can take people down a path that can become a slippery slope. Have I enjoyed every minute of motherhood? No. Do I go to my job every day with a skip in my gait? No. Do I love every member of my family unconditionally and wholeheartedly every minute of my life? No? Could my free will have taken me other places and given me other choices down the road I’ve traveled? You bet. Would I have been in a different place emotionally and physically if I hadn’t decided to honor my commitments instead of indulging some other things I was willing to do? I don’t know…

  • Larry Parker

    If the science of depression is correct, and it does not conflict with Catholic faith (and Therese, of all people, would flag that right away) … you almost certainly would have gotten depression anyway. Maybe sooner, maybe later if the course of your life had been different; but eventually, the black dog would have bitten.
    Point being, if your depression is a given rather than a “what if,” it strikes me from the outside — and none of what I am about to say is meant to minimize your struggles — you have led a richer, fuller and certainly more moral life by undertaking the struggle to honor your commitments to others (your kid/s obviously need you, but that still counts, IMHO) rather than being irresponsible, as some people with depression admittedly are.
    It won’t make you an egomaniac for you to give yourself a pat on the back. I’d say you’re entitled to several, actually :-)

  • Theresa James

    Thanks for this dose of humor today! I really needed it. And it is true, things may not always go our way, but that is just life. Holding it all in for me, is sometimes an option, sometimes not! But when I hold it in too long, I find that I feel much more stressed than if I let out something here or there. Thank God, for the real friends, that listen when you need them to, and share the happy times when we are not complaining. This is just my two cents!

  • T

    I went on a complaining fast for a month and it was amazing. I hadn’t heard of this movement. The fact is that I was able to honor my feelings without complaining. I would make statements like, “I’m annoyed that someone forgot to turn on the burner on the coffeepot.” In my mind, that’s not a complaint. A complaint is about someone else. This is a statement about my state of mind and emotions.
    One of the hardest parts, for me, was not complaining internally and about myself. It was really transformative to change my internal monologue about what I was doing wrong to a series of statements about what I felt or believed. It gave me perspective. I do admit that it took me MUCH longer to write a personal email and I had to speak more slowly and rephrase things. But it was so worth it.
    I also discovered that when people say, “We all need to vent,” they really mean, “I’m about to complain but really, it’s healthy.” Ummmm…

  • Robin Doronn

    God I love you!!! I was told I was negative and a complainer at a impromptu meeting with familly re; an aunt that has just told us her breast cancer is back and metasticized. I told my sister in law that to medical people treatable does not meen the same thing as curable and that we need to be prepared for the inevitable. I agree with the principle of not complaining- my complaint (or yours) will not change the line at the bank, gas prices or traffic, but bad news is not a complaint, being prepared for a bad situation is not a complaint. and a very wise doctor once told me she Prayed to God for guidence and assistance, but pass the amunition anyway!

  • Sherry Mason

    Wisdum, I am new to this chat, but I just had to say that I also really appreciate your insight and sense of humor.
    I agree with it whole heartedly and really needed reminding that a compromise in a relationship really means someone has to surrender.
    My boyfriend and I are both very strong willed individuals and it is difficult for either of us to surrender. I have been spouting the compromise term for weeks, when I just needed to just stop and decide if this something I can surrender on or if it too important to me and worth the arguement.

  • Georgi McAllister

    My mother, God rest her, had a saying. “Fake it till you make it”. From her I learned to try not to complain about anything. I put a smile on my face and greet life as it comes. It does no good for me or the person or thing that I complain about. She gradually passed away from Cancer, and not once did she complain. What for? She knew and loved Jesus.That’s all that counts. Our words and actions have positive or negative consequences. I choose to be a positive person, but some people who want to become positive need a daily reminder. I don’t think the purple bracelet is such a bad idea for people. It will teach you to “fake it till you make it”. Before you know it you will find good in whatever comes your way. I am living proof that it works.

  • Cully

    “. . there’s more, just dumped this over at Concersation With God (it is amazing how parrallel you are both running, except Neale has his hand out !)”
    the only thing I would add is.. both – has *both* his hands out.

  • Cully

    Georgi wrote: Our words and actions have positive or negative consequences. I choose to be a positive person, but some people who want to become positive need a daily reminder. I don’t think the purple bracelet is such a bad idea for people. It will teach you to “fake it till you make it”. Before you know it you will find good in whatever comes your way.
    I am with your Moms and you Georgi – Our words/thoughts and actions DO have consequences. They are energy that we send out and that surround us.
    Blessings and smiles!

  • Vivian

    I rarely complain about anything. No one listens and no one cares about my problems. Complaining just makes me ill and out of sorts. So I don’t complain. I do not need a bracelet to remind me, my conscious does the reminding.

  • Lauri

    I’d like to sign up for one of those bracelets, Therese. Not that I’m complaining(g)
    If there is no dark, how does one appreciate light? (Think about it.)

  • Cully

    Therese wrote: Now maybe I was just born with a relatively low happiness level, or maybe I insist on seeing the cup half empty, or maybe I’m threatened by a guy telling the world not to complain because I make a living from whining. As Eric often points out to me, “What happens if you get totally healthy and normal? There goes our livelihood.”
    No no no, my sweet Therese! You do not make a living from whining – YOU make a living from trying to (and often succeeding)help people stop whining. You make a living from showing that no one is alone in their troubles and that there is a way out.

  • Marie

    I consider a complaint different than a whine which tends to run on too much. I don’t need alot of details, we all complain, we all want to feel in touch, but we should allow only a few minutes for it in a day and move on to try to solve the problem, so word the beginning of your complaint like this, “hey, I had a bad experience, can I take a few minutes of your time to explain it to get your input and maybe it has a solution?” The complaints I tend to brush off are the ones that nothing is making this person happy and they are a drain to my psyche, I want to run from them, they just talk too much and alienate people who might otherwise be a friend. So when you talk to someone, listen to yourself and time it, usually 5 straight minutes needs a break so that the other person can speak, it’s called conversation, take a class or something and learn how to converse, please, for the good of humanity. Thanks.

  • Nan Kay

    If you start a movement with a bracelet for “real world” I will wear the bracelet and be a part of it all!! I am so sick from pretending that everything is just so peachy when most of the time my life sucks and my friends lives are not too much better! Yes I am grateful for the gifts, I am also tired of playing make believe. Lets get real, I love a good gripe fest now and then along with a praise fest. Nan Kay

  • cynthia Woods

    Positive thinking is the only way to success. See yourself as an acheiver, stay with it for 90 days, don’t shake or think of anything negative. email me after 90 days for the result.

  • Larry Parker

    This idea of bracelets saying “Stuffhappens” (one word, like “Livestrong”) is getting more and more appealing.
    And of course, the bracelets would have to be … brown.

  • J.Mack

    Whining and complaining simply means that one is wrapped up in ones self and wants the world to revolve around them.(Speaking from personal experience) Nobody likes to hear religious pious rehtoric when complaining feels so good, but hey, the bottom line is that complaining puts an immediate stop to good fruit in our lives, and brings no blessing to anyone, so just buck up and get over yourself, and get on with the business that the HOLY SPIRIT wants to do in you , through you, and for you.You are not your own, you were bought with someone’s very life blood, namely Jesus blood, if indeed the HOLY SPIRIT is in you. Too many people (myself included)who claim to be hooked up with the HOLY SPIRIT continually ignore HIS prompting to become more CHRISTLIKE and they continue doing their own thing. If that sounds like you, here’s the question. How long will you keep spinning your wheels? Don’t you realize that until you get it right, you will always get it wrong? GOD is not moved one bit by our whining and complaining, just the opposite, HE will sit patiently until we arrive to the place where we shut our mouths and just do the right thing. How do we start? We start one moment at a time, and when the day is over, you will have one day under your belt, which if practiced will become one day at a time. It will be exhasting, but worth it when you lay your head on your pillow with a clear conscience, and eventualy you will see why it pays to obey GOD.

  • PHIL

    Before I complain to someone I always think to my self “,There has to be someone out there that is worse off than me “.. there fore my complaint seems so trivial..It works everytime…..

  • Larry Parker

    I’m very familiar with that line.
    And, as I’ve discussed with my therapist/psychiatrist, being cognizant of that truth may help us from feeling sorry for ourselves, but it doesn’t often help us alleviate the intense **frustrations** we feel — those both directly and indirectly caused by our conditions.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, Jesus was not without complaints and criticisms…that’s why he kept teaching what he knew even though he could have lived a quiet life being pushed around by a King. He wanted CHANGE, bigtime, and had to analyse each situation or judge who was and wasn’t right to be his disciple. What is so wrong with getting angry? Coins/tables/overturning…sound familiar? We are not angels or saints yet! Even Mother Teresa had to get enraged about the living conditions in India. Complaining is , at it’s best, motivating. Something must be done to change the irritating or awful situation Action is the key…and do it to serve God-but do it!
    For instance, there are many clerks out there who don’t have any idea what professional salespeople are like-why can’t they work their ten dollar an hour job like it’s a forty dollar an hour job? Where is courtesy/integrity/drive to succeed? PAH! I can’t stand it and don’t- I report rude clerks….No, it is not a “nice” job but I did it and had dignity and pride in my work and so can they. Of course, I also write editorials and am involved in community affairs. I will not “lead a life of quiet desparation” nor “go gentle into that good night”. If more people spoke up or demonstrated or showed their feelings the World would be a better place. Look what Jesus and his Radicals did two thousand years ago!

  • Elissa

    I’ve always tended to be a “complainer”, about myself and others.
    This “habit” becomes so ingrained after years of conditioning, but, at the same time I am aware of it. Also, it’s always the same complaint and whining: “I’ve been an insomniac my entire life since I was a child, not talking about a few nights, weeks or months of this debilitating malady but every nite, every year for nearly 50 years.”
    I defy anybody who has had “chronic insomnia” to not complain. I have family and friends who are so irritable, grouchy and uncommunicative if they’ve just missed one miserable night of sleep!
    All my life I’ve had to put on a “happy face” when I’ve been so tired, now that I’m older, it’s even more debilitating than ever. I honestly don’t know how I lived to be 66, a Dr. once told me, after I went three straight weeks without a wink of sleep that I should be almost in a “psychotic state.”
    I realize that, for whatever reason I have this nightmare, it’s most definitely a “Cross” from God and one day He’ll tell me why.
    The only thing that ever kept me going, I’m talking about working and playing like this all these years is that somehow, someway, I never lost my sense of humor no matter how exhausted I was, and I’ve never passed by a person whom I thought needed help or someone to talk with.
    I guess I finally realized that this was always going to be a part of my suffering and that I had to rise above it. I have helped many people in this state of exhaustion and I realize that I am a strong, compassionate woman who cares for others deeply, and, perhaps, I took on more worries because of who I am.
    So, I say “complain” if it’s a legitimate complaint. I would not be living today if I had to keep this “horror” to myself, however, always find the “funny things” in life to balance out the suffering, it’s what keeps one sane. I tell God and Jesus everyday that I’m sick of it all and will they help me, so far no resolutions, but it doesn’t stop me from praying everyday not just for me, hardly, but for all those who suffer with so many ills and maladies and there are legions!
    God love you, Therese, for you are truly an amazing example of goodness in the face of a “devastating mental illness.” Your humor and faith will save you!

  • Lynne

    KUDOS Elissa!!! It would seem that you and I have a lot in common. Of course we are brilliant are we not? I’ve written some of my best “stuff” in the middle of one of my semi-sleepless nights. I also believe the saying “I was grieved because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet.” On the flip side of the coin to J. Mack -You are a perfect example of the kind of guilt throwing religionist that drives people away from faith! Jesus said “Follow me and I will make you a fisher of men.” Do you fish by throwing the anchor or baiting the hook?!!!

  • Dr. Arthur Smith

    The words “a huge ordeal” to describe what is being done to stop complaining is wrong – you might say “a big deal” instead. “Ordeal” means a great trial and difficult times. We need to work on our use of English in the US. As a College Professor I am shocked to see the growing illiteracy amongst native born English speakers. I use class time to help students improve their English. So, instead of complaining, i have taken action to work with the students to improve their English- they are responding in a very positive way. Keep wearing that wristband!!!

  • Christine MacMahon

    I agree with Dr. Smith’s comment. The use of “huge ordeal” is incorrect.

  • Therese Borchard

    Sorry for the wrong word. I have corrected it. Thanks, Therese

  • Larry Parker

    I guess that’s what you get when you post that complaints are OK, Therese. (Sigh.)

  • Kenny

    Dear Therese,
    I agree that I must be “real and honest” in my life. I don’t profess to being a Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, but I spent 10 years thinking of nothing other than doctor apts, psych apts, psych meds, medical meds,12 step mts, therapy apts, blah, blah, blah. I stayed in the sickness and disease too long. Now I am concentrating on the true me, wellness, wholeness, happiness, joy and complete health in all areas. (physcial, emotional, mental, spiritual and soul) And I’m here to tell ya, life is a whole hell of a lot better when I stay in the positive. What The Secret and Law of Attraction says about our outer realities are created by what we think and concentrate on is ABSOLUTELY TRUE!!!! Today, I focus on only the best things in life and MY LIFE HAS TURNED AROUND AMAZINGLY. My hope for the world is that IT WAKES UP AND BECOMES OPEN TO THIS LESSON!!!!!

  • Joyce Grimes

    I`m all for complaining when complaints are valid. Remember the Stepford Wives? We are not robots and when things are not good we need to say so. We need to be careful to whom we complain when it is a personal problem.

  • Jenjen

    I think that if you tried not complaining when you have real problems to deal with, it might make you feel pretty crazy. But then again, most of us live in a country that has clean (relatively) water, sewers or good septic systems, roads, plenty of food, no civil wars, relatively clean air, streets that are relatively peaceful (except in certain neighborhoods), electricity and telephones in nearly every home, and public transportation in most of the cities. If you were to compare your life with that of someone in say, Darfur, or even China or Burma, you might say you actually have it pretty good, right?

  • Nancy

    Wow – I just have to say that that I am floored at what I perceive as arrogance in the correction of English writing. This is not a class for “How to perfect the use of the English language in writing” course.
    Perhaps I am a little overly protective of Therese; however, with all that she shares with us, regardless as to what is transpiring in her life, which includes a very serious illness, to read the “Dr’s.” opinion on word usage makes me gag.
    Huge ordeal versus huge deal – stay with your students and teach them. Perhaps the person who posted that comment and the one who “agreed” meany well. I would like to think that the intentions were from a humble, helpful standpoint. Even though the good “Dr.” and friend (other poster) spoke nothing in regard to the post itself.
    It’s about the substance. Most of us (well I’ll speak for myself) just want the message and hold on to it for sustenance; not to scrutinize each word.
    This person who wrote that reminds me of someone I have known my whole life, and actually behind those well-intentioned, helpful remarks was just person who wanted to show that he knew more and better than others. I am sure that if revealed, he has many of his own shortcomings, unbecoming of an
    So live and let live, and thank God that Therese could address the nonsense in a dignified matter and hopefully give it not one more moment of time in her thoughts, which it would not warrant.
    Another blow-hard on the horizon. Ugh. What I am “shocked” at is that someone could only get out of the post a misuse of the English language, espcially when I sit here on the other side of the screen, looking forward to what Therese writes and others comment on the topic. Yes, I KNOW I am changing the present/past tense in this verbage of writing. I don’t care. I am an American with a grasp of writing; however, I am also sitting here with Chronic Clinical Depression, along with severe stages of Fibromyalgia/CFIDS/ME. The fact that I am still able to type and use my brain at all is a miracle, given the MRI and SPECT Scan. So I come to this safe place to be me, illnesses and all.
    I like what Larry said in reply to it in that last post of his – and yes, Larry, (sigh) is right on.
    Perhaps this is a complaint about a complaint, but I’m not wearing any wristband, and I’m actually just stating my opinion, so whatever anyone labels this post as, so be it.

  • Randy

    God grant me the ability to change what I can, accept what I can’t change, and the wisdom to know the difference.
    This is the way we start every service in the small methodist church that I attend. For me it says everything that needs to be said about the subject.
    I think that to complain is human nature, but as others (much better than I can) have stated life is a hard struggle at times.
    The struggles of this life can be overcome with the strength and indomitable spirit that true faith gives us.

  • lady of light

    I think you are right, Therese, that honesty dictates that we need to express ourselves in terms of our suffering and problems as well as through our victories and blessings. I would say that when complaining becomes prevalent to the extent that it blocks gratefulness, gratitude, God’s goodness or life’s beauty, the focus needs to change. A healthy balance is the key. In Phillipians 4:8 there is an exortation to think on D”whatever is pure, good, lovely, of good report” ect. This is the way in which God wants us to choose to think. It is indeed more of a challenge sometimes to think of the good in suffering, or in an unpleasant experience, but if God’s promise in Romans 8:28 is true “All things work togethr for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” we must seek to see the good, at least in our overview.
    My husband and I are in our 60’s. We have gotten to the stage where we have physical ailments – we’re sore after we go for a walk, but then the conversation turns (after complaining) to the other people we saw in wheelchairs, with walkers, etc while we were out walking and we begin to be grateful for the fact that things could be so much worse. Then comes the hot bath to soothe the aches and a nice cup of hot coffee and some Jazz music! Sometimes we need not to let our complaining block the impetus to do something about what is wrong – even to pray. But, it is a privilege to pray for others and to share burdens and struggles so we very much need that honesty you referred to. If a purple bracelet can help change or alter thought patterns for the good, I’m all for it!

  • Karen

    That was a lovely column! I really enjoyed the tougue in cheek feel it had. My personal belief is everything in balance, that includes complaining. I like your style of complaining as there is alway humor attached to it. Where would we be without a good laugh or at least a whimsical chuckle. You are right. It is better for you and the rest of those around you if you let it out. (I mean the general “you” not the personal one.) If you hold on to all your “crap,” you’ll just wind up exploding at the wrong party. This is not very pleasant for anyone involved, and I am pretty sure all of us have been on both ends of the situation.
    However, I don’t think one should make all their communicating about complaining. My mom tends to do that, although, I will admit it is better since she retired a year ago. It is not fun to talk to someone who is always complaining, but by the same token, it is disconcerting to speak to someone who is always “OK” when you know they are not. I have a male friend, and I do mean friend, who does this.

  • Brock Hansen

    Complaining is natural, if not helpful. Our brains are designed to pay attention to danger, pain, and threats, so of course we become aware when life is difficult. Part of that awareness mobilizes us to action, to hide, to run, to attack, or to express our distress. Crying to express our distress is one of the first things we do in life. It is a form of complaining. Most of us learn some way of solving many of our problems, but we never forget how to cry, whine, or otherwise express distress, one of the primary emotional states we come hardwired with for survival purposes. The downside of complaining is that it works better for babies and very young children than for adults. When adults complain, we spread the irritation and anxiety because we are also hardwired to read and respond emotionally to other people’s emotions. Learning self calming to allow us to think creatively to solve problems and ask assertively when we need help works better than complaining, but it takes practice. I’ve written a book about it, but I still have to remind myself to practice it everyday. The natural complaining response has been around for a long time. It takes patience, love, and practice to substitute something else.

  • Diane

    I am a big worrier. That translates into being a BIG complainer. It begins to grow like a bad wart on your face. My husband and some of my family have told me I worry and complain too much. I hate hearing that because it makes me realize how sour I must be to be with at times. For a while, I work on it and even pray to God to help me become more positive. Somehow, it always seems to slip back in. I used to have a friend who was a big complainer and when I was with her I always cringed and thought “Oh my gosh, is that what I sound like?” I would vow to change my bad habits. While we are human and live in this difficult world, there will always be something to complain about. I guess the idea is to do the best we can, share some of our worries with God and maybe our therapists or closest friends, but in general, strive to be optimistic and pleasant to be around. It’s good for our biochemistries! I liked this topic today because I probably will always need to be reminded to see the glass half full and to NOT complain so much. Today I will be pleasant to be around. At least I’m gonna try. :)

Previous Posts

Seven Ways to Get Over an Infatuation
“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild ...

posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate ...

posted 10:37:13am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from ...

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a ...

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer ...

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.