If you want a humbling experience, decide to give up complaining for a month. All complaining. To anyone and everyone including yourself. Can you do it?
The complaint-free November started out just fine but it didn’t go quite as planned. Luckily, I was not alone. Our Facebook group (feel free to join IF you are up for it!) has become a center for discussing the sneaky role of complaining in our lives and how to outsmart the darn thing. Be more grateful. Pause more before you react. Share your ups and downs with a support group. That’s the stuff we know, but what about the stuff we don’t know?
23 unexpected lessons from the complaint-free month
1. You may start over every day after a slip-up and still be making progress.
So I have to be honest. Every.single.day I have been starting back at day one. Living in China brings me to the 5th country we have lived in 5 years – and this has been the most challenging experience. And therein lies my strategy: always find something to be grateful for in every situation. ALWAYS. Be blessed. Awesome good vibes your way!
2. You get to see and laugh at your own drama and exaggerations.
It made me realise how much I often dramatise – linked to my complaining! Gratitude instead of complaining that is definitely the way to go and we can spread a bit of love at the same time!
3. You may need to tune out people and turn off the news just to get through the morning.
My new, personal pledges then are to continue working toward a complaint free life; to limit my news-watching (seeing enough to stay informed, but not so much that I am overwhelmed by the darkness of it all), and to avoid partaking in discussions revolving around the tragedy’s of others, unless it is to find a way to help.
Jean W. Berkompas
4. You will start catching yourself mid-way and switch to a positive thought.
Well, today I complained. Not even a little…but a lot. Then I caught myself complaining and I stopped. I practice unfolding, so I tend to be fine with and actually enjoy spontaneity.
5. You find that gratitude for what is feels easier than complaining about what is not.
Beautiful things happen in your life when you distant yourself from all negativity.
6. You get surprised by how very very VERY much you have to be grateful for.
Here’s an idea for anyone that catches themselves complaining: Rather than being down on yourself, come up with two things you’re grateful for right away. That way you cancel out the complaint and put yourself back on a positive track!
7. You realize driving is a lot more pleasant when you give others the benefit of a doubt.
8. You rope your family into the challenge and when they complain about it, you give them a big loving glare. Ah the sweet irony!
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.
9. You notice that half of your problems weren’t problems at all and the other half you can handle better without complaining.
I have been doing one thing very religiously for the past 2 days, which is thanking people around me and finding at least one good thing about every single person I have been meeting and complimenting them.
10. You start to pay attention to simple stuff that you never noticed before in the sea of the day’s grumbling.
11. You are shocked at the shift in perspective this little challenge is giving you.
I see how patience is a perfect antidote to complaining. It’s been so rainy since mid-October and one day I was SO cold that it was really hard. But then I think of all the people harmed by the weather in the Philippines and how could I possibly complain? When it’s rainy, it’s impossible to get our clothes dry and I don’t have a dryer right now. But then, the beautiful sun came out and I ran to do the laundry right away. The lesson is that sun comes to those who are patient and don’t complain.
12. You learn that calling a feeling or emotion by the right name – I’m feeling anger, frustration, impatience… – actually eliminates the oncoming complaint.
I have seen a breakthrough! Calling a feeling or emotion by the right name as opposed to reacting has almost eliminated my complaints. A small incident hurt my feelings yesterday. Instead of complaining that the other person was being unfair, I acknowledged that it was “okay to be hurt” but asked myself gently to not stay stuck in that feeling the rest of the day. When we stop complaining, we are actually listening to our true feelings and being kinder to ourselves.
13. You feel more grounded and in control and life gets, dare we say, easier.
14. You love questioning your complaint – is it true? really true? – and laugh out loud at how it can’t possibly be.
15. You shift focus from what you did wrong to what you are doing right.
I realize complaining, for me, is focusing on what did not get done at work or what went wrong. So now I’m only talking about my accomplishments at home at the dinner table and not complaining of what I did not get done … I like it.
16. You realize you are fabulous, perfect, and enough just as you are.
17. You prepare more so you are stressed less so you complain even less.
Then enroute home this evening as if by miracle (not!!) the penny dropped – I now realise that negativity and complaining (more so about others) is all due to one thing “PREPARATION” If we are prepared we’re on time stress free and less likely to think negatively. Lesson over. It has always amazed me that when you’re down in the dumps, nothing goes right plus you’ve no energy But as soon as you’re up beat, positive, inspired, the world and everyone around you seems to react differently.
18. You realize just how ingrained this awful habit of complaining is and work hard to eradicate it.
Every day, every MOMENT, I feel that I must be a Watchman, on the wall, on my game, at the ready to catch myself before I stumble. And like so many of you, I find that I am surrounded – bombarded, even – by the media, by those around me that somehow seem to thrive on complaints to get them through the day. It’s akin to a virus, spreads like wildfire, and can becoming consuming. ”Complaint-free”. I sure wish it came easier. Or not. As with any great challenge comes great reward. And great satisfaction. And great personal development. And great character-building. And greater goodwill to others. How awesome is that?
19. You get less tired and have more energy when you give up the complaining.
20. You get sought after by others because you give off good healing energy.
21. You begin to like the sound of your voice and the flow of your thoughts.
22. You hear your true inner voice after you shut off the complaining mind and it’s so beautiful it blows your mind.
23. You fall in love all over again with yourself, your life, your family, your friends and even your awful mean horrid boss.
If you want to know what to do with the energy of complaining, check out these ways to channel the energy. To our own surprise, this no-complaining business transforms our life. The decision is up to us. If you have other observations from going complaint-free, well, share it ASAP please in the comments, and don’t forget to grab your confidence-building course below. Free. Helps with this challenge immensely!