BLOG: A COMPLAINT FREE WEEK, REALLY?
Not too long ago, I made a decision to go without complaining for a week.
What got into me you might ask? Well, I was challenged a few years ago to do this for 21 days (the minimum time it takes to break a habit or form a new one) and I did not finish it.
Also we know that, complaining is a bad habit that does not create the results we desire. When we complain it means we have a reference point for something better that we prefer and that we are not willing to risk creating. It can also mean that we cannot do anything about it anyway so it’s a waste of our energy. Of course it is also putting our attention on what we don’t want, focusing on the negative so it naturally lowers our energy. If we continue to focus on what we don’t want, according to immutable laws such as the Law of Attraction, we will manifest undesirable results.
I realized that I had a challenge right away when I woke up ready to go for my morning walk with Leilani (my Besingi-beagle 3-year old very energetic pup) and it had snowed then melted and the roads were icy. I found myself whining out loud to myself, “Oh now I have to drive to the forest because I can’t walk on the icy roads.” I caught myself before I kept going and decided right then that my week challenge would be no complaints whatsoever about the weather. I wanted to give myself a chance to get into the habit of appreciation for the weather no matter what was going on. Although this may seem small in comparison to changing how we relate to our loved ones I decided it would be easier to start with.
So how does it work? No complaining about the weather for the entire week or I would start over the following day and continue until 7 days has passed without a complaint.
Another bonus to this challenge; we get an opportunity to practice compassion and not judge ourselves when we start over. Notice I said when-not if. Although there may be a few readers out there that succeed the first time, most of us are habitual complainers.
There is research done that indicates we have over 50,000 random thoughts per day and for the average person, 80% of those thoughts are negative self-talk. Our programming, which was mostly complete by the age of 6, determines our belief system. We’ve been thinking many habitual thoughts for decades. This means we must be diligent in breaking this programming. As Emerson said, “Stand guard at the portal of your mind.”
Some might think that complaining is harmless since the majority of people do it. Just notice when you are in line at your favorite store next time, at the airport or any public place. You will hear this going on with regularity. What is harmful about it then? When we complain and blame others for our results or our feelings, i.e.: it’s the government or Obama Care, the economy better with practice.
or my husband, boss or________ (fill in the blank) we are not taking 100% responsibility for our life. We make excuses and justify our results and the feelings we experience. It has us looking outside ourselves for our happiness, results and moods.
Even my comments about the weather were just wasted energy. I could be focused on what I loved, what I was creating, what was good in the moment yet I was focused on something I had absolutely no control over.
Anywhere you look you can find people in the same industry, company or city getting very different results with the same conditions present. One is winning in a big way and the other barely scrapping by and unhappy with their results. Throughout history this has been and will continue to be the reality. To live from our highest potential however, to be successful on our terms doing what matters most to us requires looking closely at the ways we stop ourselves and “play small.”
Day 2-5 I did it! I did not complain once about the weather, in fact I stood in the meadow and watched in gratitude as the wind blew the clouds across the sky and the pines were swaying behind me. It was beautiful even if it was not a sunny, warm day (my old definition of acceptable weather) and even if it was still icy.
Day 6– I went most of the day and then found myself talking with my mother in the early evening. She was not happy about the 40-degree weather in Florida. “Well at least you don’t have snow and ice, Mom!” Oops, back to day one…
I will spare you all the oops examples and just say that I did finally make it. It took me two plus weeks to finish. It was an eye-opener about how much I really complain about things that I have no control over and how dis-empowering that truly is.
If you are up for the challenge of a complaint free week, have fun as you test this out for yourself. My suggestion is you start with just one thing you complain about frequently.
As you complete this, you are bound to feel amazing and so much more in control of your life and results. You may feel empowered. Even if it takes a while, keep at it. You will begin to notice how you have been thinking and understand the need for changing this. Mostly have fun with it. Remember to be compassionate with yourself as you are experimenting. You will get better with this with practice :-)
P.S. If you would like more support in applying these principles, give us a call. In between our speaking and coaching engagements, we carve out a few individualized sessions each month. Schedule your appointment here.