Labelled ‘whingeing pom’s’ by Aussie’s, the English get a bad rap for being bad tempered. But while the grey skies in England may have left us lacking a year round sunny disposition, it’s not just us. People all over the world are partial to petulance. And since common culture carps on about complete negativity avoidance, I wondered when it stops being harmless venting and starts being something more serious, affecting our outlook on life. So for a week I decided to stop whingeing. Here’s what I found.
The whingeing pom. An arguably unfair stereotypical characterisation.
We can’t even whinge about the injustice and discrimination lest we prove a point.
So after five years of being branded a narky knickers in the Land of Oz, I tend to beat them to it god forbid a moan escapes my miserly mouth.
Me in 40 degrees cant-breath heat ‘ gosh its hot today…
Aussie; ‘Isn’t that why you moved to Australia?
Me. ‘ha yes so I did, I’m such a whingeing pom’!!!
Me in 1 degree temperatures ‘I’m freezing’
Aussie: ‘Surely you’re used to it from England’
Me ‘yep you’re right I’m just a whinger!!! You know what us whingeing poms are like!!!!
Nevermind the half-baked attempts at heating this side of the hemisphere leaving us ‘where-are -the-radiators’ poms feeling the chill twenty four seven throughout the ice cold (yes it does get cold) winters.
However, despite my weariness at the whingeing pom label, there is some justice in the jesting. You only have to be away from the UK a few months to grasp the degree of grumbles so easily exclaimed by the English.
And while overall I believe it to be a harmless habit, I wondered if at times it can cross the line from light-hearted haughtiness and have a detrimental effect on well-being and happiness.
So for a week I decided to stop whingeing. I failed. I found the frequency of my unfortunate fables would require some further finessing before I completely fling the habit. I did however become considerably more conscious of complaining.
These were the top whines I noticed from myself and others;
- Weather whinges: While I believed constant climate criticism was a mainly English affliction stemming from unfortunate home country conditions, the weather is a worldwide whinge. I shared a mutual moan with Aussies, Brits and even an American over the phone. Because this hot topic is an ice-breaker. Small talk. And small talk leads to friendly talk making it a worthwhile whinge.
- Sick stories. Feeling under the weather during the week, I noticed I repeatedly verbalised over the top grievances relating to my symptoms. I was, shamefully, searching for sympathy. But unless you’re in the vicinity of your mum this one only serves to reinforce our sickness. And can cause more discontent if we don’t get the pandering we’re pursuing.
- Kid kvetches: There’s no denying parenting is challenging. But the trials are trivial when weighed with the wonders. So I was surprised I griped a great deal more than I’d have guessed. Although in my defence almost entirely about bedtime battles. However, this was also a healthy venting and bonding exercise between fellow parents and accompanied with plenty of praising for our cheeky cherubs too.
- Road rages: Unavoidable. Especially in Australia!
- Grub gripes: I found myself bothered by a breakfast portion size complaining it too small. Since I reside in a rich nation with an abundance of fancy food at my fingertips, this gripe was ungrateful, ignorant and gratuitous. I vow never to verbalise this vex again!
- People protests: Many protests among people are, unfortunately, about people. And while we all seek expression and support, I observed much complaining about situations or altercations seemed not to have, nor want, reasonable resolutions. But unless constructive, aiming for change, these moans are meaningless and only feed unfortunate feelings. Or worse, they’re malicious, judgmental or manipulative!
- Work woes: Cranky colleagues, bad bosses and wild workloads; with most work weeks 40 hours long, irritations are inevitable. And while common complaints can cement colleague connections, non-stop narking about job dissatisfaction is not only annoying but a hallmark of responsibility avoidance.
- Country comparisons: Constant comparisons to our motherland can seem ungrateful. But between expats complaints cultivate connections through mutual understandings and shared longings. They help us feel closer to home. That said, persistently pessimistic people can cast a shadow over a bright adventure. And also annoy the Aussie’s. So keeping the whinges for our expat associates is advised!
Of course, throughout my conscious complaining phase, there was much positivity too. Importantly, I found it’s not the complaining that’s the problem per se, but the reasons behind it.
The key is whining awareness.
As while small scale sniping shields us from the rain, summoning support and allowing us to seek solace in our social networks, when it comes to steering somewhat stormy weather chronic complaining can perpetuate the cycle.
Regardless of the conditions outside, if our complaints of less than satisfactory situations are common, constant and coupled with inaction, we’re handing power to our environment. Akin to being whipped by the wind while shunning shelter or soaked to the skin yet refusing to brandish our brolly, eventually we’ll be swept into the eye of the storm, left saturated in irritability, indecision and injured victim mentality.
And we’re not named Dorothy.
So while I maintain some moaning is a must, I vow to complain less and celebrate more. After all, compared to some, the forecast is always pretty mild where we come from.
I’ll be a positive pom.
Unless it’s bloody raining.
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