Sunday, October 21, 2018

30 Day No Complaining Challenge *

(*Just Kidding, I think I can only last a week, but 30 days sounded way better.)

Do ya'll ever feel like you complain to much? Lately, I've been on this simplifying your life kick, and "don't worry about crap that doesn't matter" always seems to be on a list, and "don't waste your time complaining," so I've been thinking about how much I yell complain. Do I complain a lot?

I want to say I don't complain a lot, but I think I actually do. Like, when I walk through the laundry room, I see the clean folded clothes that the owner has ignored and not put away yet. I feel the legos that I have stepped on that have not been put away, as I try to reach the light switch to turn on the light that was left on, again. I hear the arguing my kids are doing over who kicked whom first under the table and whether it was an accident or not.

I don't think I am different than most people when I say I notice more of what isn't done than what is. I guess I could ask those I live with, but somehow I don't think I will get an unbiased opinion on the matter.

I have read the inspirational quotes that say things like "A messy home is a sign of loved ones living there or time well spent or whatever."

Yes, I agree with that. I treasure my wonderful family and our house full of fur babies. I just wish I wasn't always picking up, vacuuming up, and wiping up the signs of life and love.

So, I read, understand, and feel guilty over these lovely quotes, but I never endeavor to really live their meaning. I do a quick "Yes, I am blessed" thought and move on, never really cleansing myself of the resentment the undone thing I am complaining about brings with it.

I imagine the woman who wrote that is a calm, pulled together Zen like creature with her shit together, who I also like to think has naughty kids half dressed, fighting behind her, but I only want to think that to make myself feel better about the mothering powers of this fictional person I made up. And....I just realized how crazy I sound that I just put this totally made-up person on a pedestal only to tear her down. Shut-up, you know you do it too.

Anyway, despite the fact that I want to hate that fictional person, I also want to be like her in the sense that I truly feel grateful for what I have and not just going through the motions. I mean, I am grateful, but sometimes (or a lot of times) I would like some help and to feel appreciated while feeling grateful. I want my cake and I want to eat it too because what is the use of having a cake if you can't eat it??

However.....I also realize that you can't change other people. You can only change yourself. I have a hypothesis though, that if I change myself and how I interact with the people I wish I could change, I will end up changing their behavior as well.

I want you to do it with me because misery loves company (and OMF, see that "misery loves company = complaining. I just realized that I complained about the anti-complaining campaign I am doing!! See, it is so ingrained.)

And I want togetherness because having some accountability and sharing of experiences helps make the goal more achievable because you are more likely to stick to it. So share with a buddy and let each other know how you are doing with your "no complaining". What has been challenging for you? What have your successes been? Share in the comments if you are feeling up to it.

If you are thinking of not doing it, because you are worried you won't do it well, do it anyway. This is an experiment. There is no wrong or right with an experiment. There is only learning and trying again.

Truthfully, there is a lot worth complaining about in the world, but I can't say I have ever felt better after I bitch about something, so I'm okay with trying some new strategies. I can always return to bitching later. Who knows, maybe I will learn to do it even better after this.

Success for me wouldn't be not complaining ever again. Success would be just being more aware of how I speak about life and to people, and trying out some new ways to see how I like it and what, if anything, it does for me.

My plan of attack:

First, I need to get a handle on how much I really complain, so I will take a few days to get a feel for how big the issue is. That will also help me figure out how I will define "complaining". Is complaining ever okay or called for, or is it a "lazy" response?

Second, Embrace and understand the complaining. What does complaining do for me? Why do I do it and in what situations?

Third, What are the obstacles to stopping? One is that I think complaining is easy and relatable, so I will have to come up with some replacement behaviors.

It is really hard to change a habit, without replacing it with something else.  Take small talk for example, "Whew, it is so hot lately." That's technically complaining. "How was your weekend?" "So busy. We had this, that and the other to do." Complaining.

Fourth, assess, modify, and repeat. Did it matter? Do I want to continue?

So the next couple of days, I will just notice how much I complain. I won't worry about changing it, but if I do I'll just call it a happy side effect of awareness. The focus is on data gathering only.  If you have some strategies to share, please put them in the comments or email them to me.

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