The tendency to whining and complaining may be taken as the surest sign symptom of little souls and inferior intellects. – Lord Jeffrey


“He made me do it.” “My whole day is wrecked because of you!” My life is wrecked because of this!” If my husband could just do this I would feel so much better.”


Have you ever heard statements like these? I know I have both heard them and probably used similar phrases at some point during my life.


If you are honest with yourself you may admit that you too have used such statements in the past. Nobody’s perfect not even myself. Just because I am a therapist and writing this lesson doesn’t mean that I am better than you or more perfect. I am human just like anybody else.


So, what is the problem with such statements anyways? I mean most people tend to use such statements nearly every day, so what is the problem? Maybe there isn’t anything really wrong with such statements and we therapists just need to find problems.


You see, you give away your power when you use such statements! When you say, “He made me do it.” Essentially you have handed over your power to him and now his actions or statements control you. Wow what power you gave to him! All he has to do is say this or do that and you just do it as if you had no mind of your own!


“My whole day is wrecked because of you!” REALLY! Why would you hand over your whole day to someone that upset you? You may feel upset and angry but that doesn’t mean that the rest of the day is gone! Again you have given up your power to feel better and empowered this other person to control how you feel the rest of the day! Wow how easily you give up your power.


“If my husband could just do this I would feel so much better.” In this statement, you have given up the power for you to feel better and placed it in someone else’s hands. In a sense, now you get to gamble and just hope that this person does something. Otherwise, you are going to be miserable. Why put the power to control your emotional life in the hands of someone else? If you do, then you better hope they are pretty normal otherwise you could be in trouble!


Many times I hear from people that if certain people and circumstances could finally get it and change that their lives would be so much better. This creates a sense of hopelessness because with such beliefs you have no power over changing and feeling better. It is now up to circumstances and many others to change just so you can feel better! Plus, your emotional life is now in the hands of the up and down world. Guess how you just might feel? If you guessed “up and down,” then you guessed right!


Why wait? Take back your power by demonstrating better self-accountability and being honest with yourself. If someone did something to wreck your day, then admit that you are feeling like that because you are choosing to hand over your day to them. STOP! Admit that your day is wrecked because YOU have chosen that in response to whatever someone did. You don’t have to choose that! You can choose to feel the way you want to. Just because this or that happens does not mean you have to feel lousy for the rest of the day or your life for that matter! You take back your power to choose and then decide how you want to respond. We cannot control others or circumstances but we can control how we RESPOND to them!


Now I am not perfect and even I find myself struggling with this at times. It seems that it is easier and feels good to blame others for your circumstances and lot in life. However, if you really want to change that then you must take back your power by realizing that you have CHOSEN to respond this way. And then CHOOSE a different response, CHOOSE to focus or dwell on something else, CHOOSE to look at the problem in a different way that leads to changing your feelings, or CHOOSE to simply let it go. Some things are not that important when we compare them to life and death situations!


After reading this, do you have any thoughts or comments about this? What other examples might you say others use to give away their power? In what ways have you fallen prey to giving away your power? What ways can you use to take back your power? Remember it is in our choices that we can recover our power!


Your challenge is to first seek to understand this lesson, then go out and begin living it! I challenge you to go at least one day without blaming, complaining, or whining.



Chris Swenson is a licensed Couple and Family Therapist currently helping people develop resilience at his private practice counseling office in Sterling, CO (Rhino Wellness Center). To contact Chris, you can call 970-522-0796 or schedule an appointment online at