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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

This Is What You Asked For

Why are you complaining?

When I entered active duty military service with the United States Marine Corps (USMC) in 1996, my graduating platoon was the last of the “old Corps.” We weren’t subject to the Crucible training program and many of us subjectively held ourselves out as tougher than the newer generation of war-fighters.

Inner-service rivalry is fierce, though there was an intra-service rivalry present within the Corps, as well. Infantry vs. non-infantry, old vs. new Corps, San Diego vs. Paris Island boot camp, male vs. female, and other qualifiers are so staunchly maintained that it wasn’t unusual for Marines to physical assault one another based on these differences.

Thankfully I’ve matured and no longer use that unhelpful frame of mind. It was in boot camp that I was introduced to a running cadence designed to address whining, moaning, bitching, and complaining. It went as follows:

Thunder, lighting, drizzle, and rain. Nothing but PT [physical training] on my brain [repeat]

Left foot [repeat]

Good foot [repeat]

1, 2, 3, 4, United States Marine Corps! [repeat]

This is what you asked for! [repeat]

1, 2, 3, 4, United States Marine Corps! [repeat]

Drill instructors reminded recruits that despite the fact that conditions were perceived to be miserable, the treatment we endured was what we asked for. It was a voluntary enlistment, so why protest when we received our wish?


Now, long after I left the Corps, I observe the continued changes to my beloved USMC. I’ve watched as a questionable vaccine mandate has impacted recruitment. Though I’m not a so-called “anti-vaxxer,” I fully disagree with how our government handled COVID-19 inoculation.

I’ve also paid attention as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified to the House Armed Services Committee, stating, “I want to understand white rage, and I’m white.” The general further dismissed the characterization of military members adopting “woke” ideology while espousing the very ideas he claimed not to hold.

I’ve further noted how the Corps has now reportedly been given the instruction, “Instead of saying ‘ma’am’ or ‘sir,’ recruits in these Services refer to their drill instructors using their ranks or roles followed by their last names.” One supposes this “woke” practice is simply imagined.

Still, I’ve noticed that male and female recruits and Marines still have different physical training standards, and females continue to enjoy the privilege of not having to register for the Selective Service. Sex and gender neutrality is important in communication though not through standards?

I now examine how current and former top USMC brass is at odds with one another about the Corps’ commandant is purportedly restructuring the Corps in preparation for conflict with China and Russia. There’s a reported “lack of recruits eligible to serve and decreased trust in the military,” though reorganizing the Corps is a top priority?

I even see that of the inflated defense spending bill that was just proposed, funds were reportedly “set aside [with] $45 billion in aid for Ukraine and NATO allies amid Russia’s ongoing invasion.” Our nation struggles while we fund a proxy war?

This is what you asked for

For those who care about the Corps I imagine it’s easy to disturb oneself over challenges to one of our nation’s most tenacious fighting forces. A collapse in effectiveness could equate to unpleasant consequences for our nation in the not so distant future.

Nevertheless, I’m unbothered by the aforementioned observations. Practicing Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), using the ABC Model, allows me to understand that it isn’t what occurs that bothers me—it’s what I tell myself about the occurrence that leads to worry, doubt, anger, and the like.

Moreover, I practice unconditional acceptance—understanding my powerlessness over the observations outlined herein. I can’t influence or control questionable vaccine policy, wokeness in the military, unequal treatment of the sexes/genders, restructuring of the Corps, or reckless spending from the government.

While I in no way asked for these issues, I can’t impact them. Therefore, when it comes to whining, moaning, bitching, and complaining, I know that I have a choice as to how I react to an issue—even if I didn’t ask for the issue in the first place.

Do I want to disturb myself into a fit of rage regarding matters over which I have no control? No.

Do I choose to worry myself to the point at which I can’t sleep at night due to issues beyond my grasp of influence? No.

What then do I want? What is it I ask for? I choose to unconditionally accept that the world doesn’t have to function in a manner I think it should, must, or ought.

By adopting this more effective belief, what is the consequence of noting a description rather than using a prescription for life? I’m mildly annoyed enough to draft a poorly written blog entry, post it, and continue about my day.

Just as I once prided myself as being a tougher Marine from the old Corps, I can challenge my unhelpful and unhealthy belief systems which don’t serve me well. This allows me to accept what is, rejecting what I think ought to be.

Would you, too, like to know more about how to practice this method of acceptance? REBT isn’t about lying to yourself, pretending as though you like or love the things for which you don’t actually care. Rather, it’s about being able to tolerate them nonetheless.

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW

Photo credit, photo by: Cpl. Zachary T. Beatty (I’m not pictured herein), fair use


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