We make ourselves crazy.
We can stop doing it. That is the
message Laura Schlessinger, popularly known as Dr. Laura, present in her book Stop Whining, Start Living.
So much of how we make ourselves miserable is how we look at
things. Life is difficult, for some
people more than others. If we focus on
difficulties, problems, and situations we don’t like, we’ll feel the weight of
them. If instead we focus on the things
in life we enjoy, that encourage us, and the people we love and who love use,
we’ll feel the lightness of it. Perspective
doesn’t make problems go away, but a good point of view can keep us from
ignoring the good things in our lives.
Relating to this is the need for action. Our complaints don’t change the situations we
complain about. Action, especially acts
that help others, make the world better and help us feel better. As Schlessinger puts it, “ultimate meaning fullness
in our lives comes from fulfilling our obligations to others.”
Stop Whining, Start
Living presents variations on these two themes, focusing on different areas
of life, especially relationships. She devotes a chapter to marriage. Even here, a happy marriage is largely a
matter of looking at the things you love about your spouse and not accentuating
the negative. Act lovingly toward your
As the title “doctor” implies, Schlessinger has academic
training and is licensed in marriage and familytherapy. Her book is not academic or professional in
tone. She is conversational.
Schlessinger draws many examples from communication she had
with listeners of her radio
program. Sometimes she refers to
difficult and emotionally charged situations.
These examples make her advice more powerful and approachable.
On that radio program, Schlessinger developed a reputation for
being confrontational. It comes through
in this book, too. I don’t think this comes
from meanness. She’s out to expose the thinking
that underlays complaining and present an alternative. Even in the nicest exchange, that is a little
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