23 Unexpected Lessons of a Complaint-Free Month

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!
Monique O’Reilly

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!
Julie Stannard

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.
Joy Holland

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.
Sibyl Chavis

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!
Ralph Quintero

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.
Vidya Sury

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.
Sujatha Amarnath

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.
Sandra Pawula

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.
Kay Fudala

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.
Charlene Krepel

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.
Ena Ronayne

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?
Bruce Rodgers

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!

Get Confident in 21 Easy Steps

  • http://Intentionalemployee.com Bert purdy

    You succeeded once again, Farnoosh, by putting together a comprehensive list. I’m not a complainer by nature but I do find myself griping about this or that. Today, in fact, I caught myself doing number 4 in your list.

    Isn’t life so much better without complaining! Your whole perspective changes. The sun is brighter, the days warmer, the air cleaner…all because of a simple change in mindset.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Bert, not sure if it’s comprehensive – in fact, I know it isn’t :) but thank you. And yes to life being so much better but I wish it were a simple change in mindset. It’s making a lot of us in the no-complaint group feel very humbled. So nice to hear your insights, Bert. Thanks for dropping in!

  • http://www.positivelyaffirm.com Elissa Philgence

    Hi Ms. Farnoosh
    Wonderful post and what wonderful comments on Facebook by your readers, I need to find the time to come over and join your wonderful group. These are some of the ones that ring home true to me and my situation with complaining.

    21. You begin to like the sound of your voice and the flow of your thoughts.
    This is true. It feels good to start loving my own voice.

    22. You hear your true inner voice after you shut off the complaining mind and it’s so beautiful it blows your mind.
    It’s only when I am silent that I can hear God’s voice. I need to listen more!

    19. You get less tired and have more energy when you give up the complaining.
    So true, I find when I complain I have mad at myself for complaining and then I want to call the person to apologies for complaining, but that only leads to more complaining. Bad cycles!

    6. You get surprised by how very very VERY much you have to be grateful for.
    So true, I had to learn this the hard way. But it works and life is livable again.

    12. You learn that calling a feeling or emotion by the right name – I’m feeling anger, frustration, impatience… – actually eliminates the oncoming complaint.
    This is something I am learning daily. I tell my children but I still have not learned my own lesson.

    18. You realize just how ingrained this awful habit of complaining is and work hard to eradicate it.
    I think this is an ongoing daily job for me.

    Thank you for writing this post. I am sure it has and will help a lot of people on ‘our’ road to rediscovering inner peace.


    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Elissa, thanks so so SO much for adding your thoughts and for joining the group – I loved seeing you pop up there. Believe me, sister, it’s a daily work and effort for me too. I am glad I am not alone. But the best part: We are in this together, Elissa. Let’s see it through the new year without complaining :)!

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  • http://www.flyingthoughts.net Oana

    Hello Farnoosh,

    It was fascinating and exciting to have the experiment of no-complaint November – which for me it was the second-half of November. As I wrote on my blog, I didn’t succeed to stop complaining entirely. Instead, I understood how many positive things I can do when I refrain from complaining about small stuff which after all, it does not even matter for my life. At the same time, I started a personal inquiry into my expectations and frustrations on which usual complaints were founded.

    I shall definitely continue monitoring my complaining habit with the purpose of making more room for peace and creativity in my life.

    Thank you for coming up with this wonderful challenge, which adds a sweet taste to the nostalgia caused by the end of 2013!


    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Oana, I saw that blog post and wanted to let you know: Excellent job. I loved that you are exploring and being so curious about the topic – that’s the best way to eradicate it slowly and SLOWLY being the key word here, trust me I did not go totally complaint-free – my hubby can tell you that one 😉 but I am becoming so much more aware of it just like you and the simple result: I’m happier. Keep going and I wish you the very best in 2014 and beyond.

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  • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

    @disqus_8qzFeiNRlQ:disqus Thanks for sharing your thoughts and hope you are doing great. I’m working on an affirmation audio program and just saw your lovely comment. Thanks and hope you are well. :)