F*&K, we complain about everything!
When I began this challenge I expected I would find myself saying things like this:
"I was late for work today because there was so much traffic and then a car broke down and by the time I arrived at work it was the 9am rush and the lifts took forever..."
"All I wanted to do was one simple thing, I just needed to pop out to get some lemons and it took me 30 mins to queue because there was only one checkout open... sigh"
You follow me...
But complaining is SO much more than just this. It's the tuts, the huffs and puffs, it's when someone pulls out in front of you and shout "what the hell dude!".
Complaining is a way of life. It is normal and it can be found in a multitude of places.
Genuinely I found this challenge testing. To this day I unsure if I have managed to make it through a full day without complaining. A sad thought really.
It is so ingrained in us culturally that we don't even notice it.
The more awareness I brought to my words and actions the more I was able to identify with where my problem areas were. Mostly my complaining came hand in hand with my expectations. If something didn't quite go the way I wanted the I would find myself talking about it frequently. Complaining about how things didn't go my way.
There was a one aha moment around a week or so into my challenge were something sad had happened to me and I found myself carrying this unnecessary burden and sharing it with others. Dirtying up their energy with my negative words.
In this moment, I stopped. I turned to my sister and said, "enough is enough! I'm sorry, I've really been allowing this to consume me". And with this I created a new rule: whenever something happens I set a timeline for how long I am going to allow myself to be all consumed with it. In this particular situation I decided 3 days was enough.
After 3 days I let the heavy weight go. This didn't mean I felt incredible right away. No, I was still sad on the inside but I chose to operate from a state of happiness, instead of dwelling on the past.
As I went forward with the rest of the month if something bothered me enough to complain about it I would evaluate it and set a time limit.
Quit complaining and let go
1. Evaluate what it is that's bothering you and rate it on a scale of 1-10. 10 being the highest.
2. Ask yourself the question, can I let this go? If you can excellent, if not continue to step 3.
3. Set an appropriate time limit for how long you are willing to let yourself feel negatively about this.
My time limits range from 5 minutes to 3 days depending upon the situation. For something huge like a breakup I would allow 3 days of wallowing in self-pity, calling my mum 5 times a day and lots od crying. Then after 3 days of this I would pick myself up and begin to move forward, accepting that some sadness or negativity is still there but knowing that I want to live a happy life.
One of my favourite authors, Eckhart Tolle describes complaining wonderfully:
“See if you can catch yourself complaining, in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.”
― Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
Thank you for reading and supporting my journey of inner growth!
With love & gratitude.