Who knew that not complaining could be so hard? Seriously?
I consider myself a fairly nice person. I get along with most people; I’m not out to get anyone — not anyone I could actually get at, anyway — and I seriously do want to make the world a better place. On the other hand, I’m a Virgo, and I live up to the unpleasant Virgo stereotype of being highly critical of everything and everyone, including myself. However, when I read that thoughts don’t count — just those words that come out– for Will Bowden’s 21-Day Complaint-Free Challenge , I figured I’d have no problem, for I was a Virgo who knew how to keep her mouth shut.
Or so I thought.
It turns out I’m just as much a verbal complainer as the next person. Maybe more so. Driving in traffic with drivers that are slower than I’d like . . . ? Can’t complain. Or who don’t use their turn signals? Or pull out in front of you? Nope. Can’t. Or . . there’s a train?!? Nope. Nope. Nope.
But it wasn’t just the road rage. I had plenty other chances for frustration. How about: I banged my elbow! Nope. Banged it again! Can’t. Walked upstairs and forgot what I went up there for. . . Still nope. Got downstairs and remembered what I went up there for. . . Can’t. Need to vent about an interpersonal interaction? Don’t do it. Even about work? You guessed it. . . Nope. I realized that I had to watch myself even when looking over education materials or watching or listening to any media or performance.
Is it the end of the world if I complain? Certainly not. But it’s not making the world any better either. I haven’t gone official and put on a mobile purple bracelet for each time I catch myself complaining, but even just bringing my attention to it has been mind-boggling.
The most interesting aspects of my complaining-free study are discovering:
1) where complaining pops up in my interactions with others.
2) how tongue-tied I can get when someone asks my input about something.
3) how great I feel when I don’t complain, especially around others.
Regarding #3, no gossiping is included in being complaint-free., and we all know that if I’m talking about someone right now with you, you could be next. When I am complaint-free, I have more integrity, more authenticity, and more positivity. In other words, how I am with you is how I will always be with you, whether you are in the room with me or not.
No, I am not yet complaint-free, but I’m like the blue heron, intently watching every fishy thought. I know I’ll eventually make it, and then positive thinking won’t be too far behind.