On November 1, I decided to stop complaining. Going complaint-free? Yes! I thought, hey, here’s something I can ace with ease.
After all, it is human to complain. But when we’re conscious about not complaining, it is rather simple, right?
It is harder than that.
A habit of a lifetime does not change overnight.
Yet, we can start working on it and if we’re determined enough, actually go complaint-free.
And I stopped complaining
Or trying my darnedest to! Being conscious is half the battle.
After a couple of weeks of committed practice, I was pleased to see I actually could stay complaint free. And I thought, I really must share it with you. I wrote the title for the post and scheduled it for publishing today.
So fancy my stunned surprise when I saw Farnoosh had beaten me to it with a solid gold winner of a post here Can’t Stop Complaining? 10 Ways You Forget to Channel the Energy. I read it. I enjoyed it. I even jokingly told her I am going to swipe it and post it here. Not.
But yes, I do want to talk about how glorious it is to be complaint-free.
It always helps to think of what IS rather than what is NOT. I’ve made a habit of this over the past seven years, ever since my Mother began having severe health problems. The result was amazing. I realized I smiled more and was more stress-free.
Here’s my trick
So today, when something doesn’t go the way I expect, I quickly take a sheet of paper (my favorite-est method), draw a vertical line. On the left, I list the Debits and on the right, the Credits. I always find the credits far outweigh the left column.
Another thing I’ve noticed, to my happy surprise is.. when I think of Debits, I think of the immediate present and very recent past. With Credits, I look at the big picture, and so, there are bigger things to feel happy about – long term things. Am I making sense? Of course I am!
So – a couple of weeks ago, when I packed my son’s lunch, he came and said, “Mi, yesterday you forgot to put a spoon in my bag and it was…..” I looked at him and grinned… and he continued, “I found it was interesting to eat with my hand for a change”. I love that kid! What’s more, he’s trying to convert his friends.
Not always faithful though.
The next day when I asked him if he had complaints and confidently expected him to say “no”, he just laughed and said, “Of course. Complaining feels good and it is fun. it is a great way to vent.” Then he looked at my obvious disappointment and said, “But the trick to not sounding whiny is to vent and move on”.
I was happy again. Vent and move on was good. I asked if he could not try to see the good side before venting, he said he certainly would.
Hmmm. Not bad, I am thinking.
No complaining is not finding fault with all you see.
It is crazy how some people are happiest when they’re complaining or finding fault. I had an aunt like that. Never happy unless unhappy. Yeah, I know how that sounds (and we loved her anyway!). These people are never satisfied no matter how fine everything is. They revel in generating negative energy. They blame someone for everything that is wrong with their life and never stop complaining. It never even remotely occurs to them that they could possibly be responsible. And that is the most important thing when it comes to going complaint-free.
Starting with Me, obviously
Improvement starts with self, almost always. Wherever we live, wherever we work or play, we are the main constant in our lives. We just can’t get away from ourselves, right? We have to start with the man in the mirror and ask him to change. (yes, I just love that song). Unless we bring change from within, our response to outside things will be less than perfect.
Years ago, when I met my friend Sibyl Chavis and visited her blog, the thing that impressed me most was her decision to give up complaining for 40 days. She said 40 days turned into 5 years and she’s never looked back since.
Here’s her insight about going complaint-free:
“One thing that has always been helpful to me is understanding what my complaint “triggers” are: the things that in the past have caused me to complain, like work, feeling tired, the weather, money, etc. Once I realized what was triggering a lot of my complaining, I was on “high alert” and extra aware anytime one of those topics came up.
So, if you haven’t already done so, I would recommend taking a closer look at those times you feel tempted to complain. Are you usually doing something you dislike? Are you around a certain person? Are you tired? Make sure you know your complaint triggers and then choose to be very aware when these times arise.
Knowing our complaint triggers helps us avoid falling into the complaint trap time and time again.
(Scroll down this page on Sibyl’s blog to download a fabulous book titled Stop Complaining and Start Living that she’s generously offering for free)
Gratitude minimizes complaining
Being grateful no matter what is such a great way to live, because it lets us find joy in every little thing. It only takes a slight mind shift.
When life is stormy and turbulent, don’t complain. Don’t sit and wait for the storm to pass. Just go dance in the rain.
To sum up, here is how you benefit when you commit to go complaint-free
You also go
Pain-free (yes, it works!)
increased self esteem
more affectionate towards your folks and friends
your outlook on life has changed
When you stop complaining, you feel lighter, you argue less and enjoy life more.
That is totally worth it, right?
Sure, but am I saying all complaining is bad?
No. I believe certain complaints that point to a positive outcome are important. Let’s ask ourselves, what do we want to achieve by complaining? Solve a problem? Inform others about a situation so it won’t repeat itself again? Excuse our own shortcomings?
So, please do go ahead and blow off steam, I say. Focus on your complaining but only to become aware of any unwanted negativity you are harboring. Lose the negativity. And then, laugh it off and move on!
So do you think you can commit to go complaint-free?
If yes, how do you intend doing it?
If not, why not?