What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain. ― Maya Angelou
Why? Because, let’s face it, who has ever enjoyed hearing someone complaining? It may feel like a temporary relief to tell people those negative words, but in the long run, it hurts your happiness.
So, this month’s challenge will be trying to avoid complaining (October 2017 for me). I am currently reading the book A Complaint Free World. It proposes a method where you should wear a bracelet on your wrist and change it from one arm to the other every time you notice yourself complaining, or otherwise talking negatively (gossip, sarcasm, etc). The gesture is meant to make you conscious of your words and help change the behavior. You succeed when you achieve a 21 days period without touching the bracelet. I though, well, why not make it 30 days? However, I am aiming for 30 days of trying, we’ll see about the success rate!
I wore a bracelet that my daughter lent me. I changed it only a few times. I must that the beginning of the challenged fell pretty well, because we were celebrating my birthday a few days in advance. I woke up with my little Yourinaut giving me a nice flower he made, followed by shopping with my little girl, and ended the day with a great family dinner at my parent’s house, surrounded by people I love. Not very hard to refrain from complaining too much on such a good day.
Yes! I succeeded today in spending a full day without complaints/gossip/sarcasm/negativity! In the last days, I did not change my bracelet from wrist to wrist too much, but I still let some sarcarsm or gossip slip through. Of course, I guess it helps a lot that I am already convinced that I am a lucky person and grateful for so many things in my life. Making the effort of not complaining (well, complaining less until today) has made me happier in my everyday life so far. I think it really has the effect of limiting the space that negative aspects of life can fill and you end up with more space for what’s good. By the way, I decided to use the bracelet against the evil eye as a reminder not to speak evil! A friend gave it to me, but you can find similar bracelets if you like it (like this and that).
Well, it looks like it will take some time before I can reach 21 days in a row as I had to change my bracelet a few times in the last days. Although I admit I am now more concious of my words, sarcasm is a habit that is hard to stop as I like making fun of things instead of just complaining. But it still counts as a complaint…
I had managed 2 days in a row, but I am back to the beginning again. Today at work someone got transferred and the temptation was just too hard to resist to gossip about it and who the replacement will be! I must say that this whole exercise still help me notice what I say and reminds me to think before I talk.
Well, I am not proud to admit that I have not been able to refrain from sarcasm (or other) more than 1 day this week. It’s not that easy to always be watching what you say. At some point, you get tired and first thing you know is that you indulged in saying things that you should have kept in. I still find it a worthwhile exercise.
It’s almost over. I really thought that I’d be able to succeed more than 2 days in a row, but I did not. I changed the way I discuss many topics thought, and this challenge has helped me to have a better approach for expressing myself. I was able to spend most of the time ok, but there is always one little remark that slips out. I am looking forward to this month being over as I find it tiresome to continually watch myself.
Day 31 (October!)
I am thankful that this challenge is now officially over. No, you won’t see me try this until I can make it work for 21 days in a row. I am not that plaintive, but I do enjoy a little gossip and sarcasm.
Challenge for YOU
Take the 21 days challenge of no complaining! Here are a few advices to help you:
- If you can’t help it and a complain escapes your lips, try to at least complete it with a positive twist. Bring back the focus on something good that came out from it.
- This is not to say that you should not seek help from your peers. Facing a real problem that can be solved is different. Asking for help is different in that the focus will be about finding what can be done about the situation, not a lengthy monologue about how miserable you are because of it.