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Dr. Laura Schlessinger steps in to help folks conquer the widespread, "poor me" mindset and take action to do and be their best in Stop Whining, Start Living, her most personal book to date.
Building on the principles developed during her long career as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Dr. Laura issues an important message: If you don’t like your life, quit talking about your unhappiness and try to fix it.
In Stop Whining, Start Living, Dr. Laura’s powerful lessons include:
Everyone can use a kick in the pants sometimes, and Dr. Laura is here to deliver it!
Dr. Laura Schlessinger agrees that there are things worth whining about! A certain amount of whining allows for some venting of reasonable pain, disappointment, fear, frustration, or frank rage. However, staying stuck in whining mode can become a life-long problem. This is where Dr. Laura steps in with Stop Whining, Start Living to help folks conquer the temptation to retreat from living life to the fullest.
As she reveals in her introduction, "No matter what you've suffered or continue to suffer, while you are alive you have the opportunity to get something from this life, and I'm going to do my best to help you with that. . . . I know of what I speak, as this has been my torturous journey also." Building on the principles developed during her long career as a licensed marriage and family therapist, and addressing the chronic struggles of so many of her listeners and readers, Dr. Laura issues an important message in the no-nonsense but compassionate voice that is her trademark: If you don't like your life, quit talking about your unhappiness and try to fix it, no matter how difficult or impossible your situation seems.
While it is healthy to vent occasionally, endless rumination on the negative only keeps you paralyzed in misery, reinforces hopelessness, and demoralizes those around you who feel helpless to bring any happiness into your life. Instead, Stop Whining, Start Living encourages "whiners" to reject negative thoughts, emotions, and attitudes; shift perspective; open up to gratitude and goodness; and embrace obligations to loved ones and the world in general. Before long, just doing what you're supposed to be doing--instead of moaning about why you can't or won't or shouldn't fulfill your responsibilities--will have you feeling better about yourself and will uplift your interactions with family, friends, colleagues, and even complete strangers in incredible ways.
Illustrated by calls and letters from members of Dr. Laura's huge international audience, Stop Whining, Start Living features brave testimonials from real human beings facing real challenges. These folks have benefited enormously from Dr. Laura's powerful lessons.
Stop Whining, Start Living gives readers stuck in their suffering the jump start they need to break out of reactive mode and get proactive, moving in the direction of a joyful, meaningful, happy, fulfilling, and purposeful future. Everyone can use a kick in the pants sometimes, and Dr. Laura, who "preaches, teaches, and nags" to millions every day on her radio program, is here to deliver it!
Questions for Dr. Laura
Question: How and why does whining get in the way of living?
Dr. Laura: Whining as an immediate response to any sort of pain (physical, psychological, emotional, interpersonal) is normal and potentially helpful since venting helps get us some loving and supportive attention which "softens the blow." Staying in whining mode makes us ignore options for repair or growth and interferes with us squeezing joy out of every precious day.
Question: Stop Whining, Start Living assures readers that change is possible with commitment and willpower. But what can people do to break the habit of suffering?
Dr. Laura: Solutions to serious problems don’t always have to be…well…serious! I have had people on the line who I’ve made sing and/or dance while live on the radio. It is almost impossible to be sad while "movin’ to the music"! I’ve told listeners to turn on their radios or iPods to whatever music moves them (for me it is oldies rock) for fifteen minutes. Distraction and physicality do a lot to alleviate a negative mood. From there folks need to move into being a blessing unto others.
Question: Is it ever okay to whine? If so, for how long and under what circumstances?
Dr. Laura: As I wrote in Stop Whining, Start Living, I reserve the right to whine about some frustration, disappointment or assault for between one and four days max. After that I’ve become boring to myself and everyone around me. Constant whining takes full attention, which means you can’t smell the roses. And, I only whine to someone who cares, will be sympathetic, and who will then help me get goin’ again.
Question: When’s the last time you, Dr. Laura, had a whining episode and how did you snap out of it?
Dr. Laura: It was just the other day! I got some thoroughly aggravating news and stomped around whining for a couple of hours. What always sets me straight is turning on my microphone. Why? Because for three hours each weekday I get to help people do and be better in their lives. I hear the respect and trust they’ve developed for me after months or years of listening to my program. I hear the switch snap in their brains as they "get" what it is they have to do or be to improve their lives. I hear the gratitude for my service. All of that is humbling and reboots my attitude. I am grateful to be of service and that more than makes up for whatever annoyance plagued my day. I also go sailing or take a power hike with my dog, BeBe.
Question: What can a person gain from giving up complaining?
Dr. Laura: I always tell folks that it is a dear shame to not enjoy a great plate of spaghetti and meatballs because you’re disappointed in the number of meatballs. You gain dinner!
Question: The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage, your last bestseller, dealt with all the forces undermining today’s marriages and the kind, loving actions, thoughts and behaviors at the core of every successful partnership. How does Stop Whining, Start Living build upon this foundation?
Dr. Laura: Stop Whining, Start Living doesn’t build upon the foundation of The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage--it IS the foundation. To look at your spouse and see some things that annoy you and focus in on only those aspects of their being and your relationship is marriage and spouse abuse! To see some things that annoy you and to say to yourself, "Small price to pay to have someone to love and to love me," is to stop whining and start loving.
Question: You advise readers to just say ‘no’ to hurt feelings. What do you mean?
Dr. Laura: Upset feelings can lead us to behaviors of either retaliation, self-abuse or perpetual negative rumination--if you let them. Any of those behaviors feed back into growing those upset feelings and letting them take solid root. The term "acceptance" seems so incomprehensible to so many people. Acceptance means that you stop fighting "it". When people call in their 30’s and 40’s still complaining that some parent, friend, or relative isn’t giving/doing what they’d like…I tell them it is time to stop being surprised that an alligator isn’t friendly in the bathtub. It’s an alligator--and that’s how alligators behave. Meanwhile, the new lovely people and circumstances of their lives are lower priority because they’re still fighting for the "old stuff" to miraculously change--as though that would really make any true difference in their lives. I tell them to let go of their end of the tug-of-war and walk away towards what is and can be.
Stop Whining, Start Living: Turning Hurt Into Happiness (Audio CD) (ISBN: 0061456373 / 0-06-145637-3)
Schlessinger, Dr. Laura
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