My wife and I are on our way to Butchart Gardens to celebrate our 47th anniversary. It is amazing to think that I have spent 2/3rds of my life with her. Butchart is on Vancouver Island which takes a ferry ride of 90 min from the mainland in Vancouver. It is a hard to imagine a more beautiful show garden in the world than Butchart. The colors and variety overwhelm you at nearly every step. As we are docking at Swartz Bay to begin the drive down to the gardens I am glancing out to see how the ship will dock. Along side me is a fellow Canadian tourist. It takes about 2 minutes into the conversation for him, a visitor from Ontario, to start complaining about the prime minister and something he did early on during the pandemic. I brush the comment aside, get back in the car, and have a gorgeous day. How could you not?
We are once again at the ferry terminal this time waiting to head back to the mainland around 5:30 pm. We head over to one of the stands and buy a smoothie. As I begin to say how great it was to get back to Butchart, the owner of the stand quickly begins to complain about the government bailing out Butchart to the tune of one million dollars. At this point my curiosity is peeked. Why have so many people become whiners? Mind you two people complaining about the government is a bit of an over-generalization on my part, but the question persists.
Earlier this year my wife had been in a car accident where she spent a few days in the hospital with a broken sternum. They also found some heart irregularities. Afterwards, the insurance company wrote off our car, gave us more than we thought and then paid for 6 months of various treatments for her. My daughter was also in the hospital twice this year. The cost to us as a family was exactly $0 for the hospitalization and treatment and, believe it or not, our insurance rates went down instead of up in the following year. Go figure. There is a lot of room for improvement in the medical system, for sure, but for the care that she got at no cost, I am very grateful. And the same care is available to every Canadian.
Back to the whiners. So what happens psychologically if you open the conversation with a complaint? It is very interesting. The complainer is protected because he is actively expressing negativity. He throws out the negative and expects the other person to be in rapport with his negativity. I am expected to agree with him and since there is very little he can do to change how the government works, then he can go about keeping his life status quo. He puts his change process into the hands of the government and looks for others to agree with him on how bad others are acting. This is a recipe for being a loser in life. It reminds me of the university professor in Canada who got fed up with having to be politically correct so now he goes around the world whining. Lots of people like the ones I met seem to follow him.
What are you feeling if you are whiner? Whining is the result of one of the most difficult negative emotions to overcome, and the one that tends to be the most destructive of relationships, envy. Envy is the negative emotion that is felt when there is a lot of desire, but very little motivation to make substantial internal changes that get positive results.
What if, instead of whining about the government, the man could have been astonished by the beauty around him and taken it all in. And what if the man selling me the smoothie, would have engaged me in a conversation about healthy living. Those are big what ifs! Envy prevents people from experiencing the best that exists in life. Instead of being grateful or engaging in positive experiences, it keeps life at a distance, protected by its desire with no positive action. When I lived in Brazil, much of the male population of the country depended on the Brazilian soccer team or their own club team winning to find some kind of joy in life. If a bunch of guys kicking a ball around did not perform well, then the press attacked them viciously as if they had committed mortal sin. The British press is even worse when it comes to sport. There is a lot of envy, hoping someone else will give joy, and not a lot of embracing of life in a positive manner.
In the Olympic games the U.S. track and field team had 26 medals, more than twice as many as the next closest country, but what made the biggest news was that one man didn’t run as fast at he had been running and the 4 X 100 relay mishandled the baton. if the men’s basketball team had not won the gold medal, it would have been a national shame. What is that? It’s envy. It is wanting something for nothing, expecting something for nothing. On the other hand, when a young Australian rode to a gold medal run in the skateboarding competition, the person who first embraced him after the run was the American rider who had been in first place! You could see the same kind of embracing of the full experience in the sport climbing event as well. They all love to see each other perform well. When Andre Deplantis, competing for Sweden, but having a parent from both the U.S. and Sweden, won the pole vault competition, he personally went around to every competitor and embraced them. So it seems that it is possible to either whine about what someone else is not doing for you, or you can embrace the very best of life and go for it. That large sections of the population are whiners is a bit troubling.
We had a glorious day at Butchart. We embraced beauty and it gave us back so much.