When I Went a Day Without Complaining

Correction: When I [tried] to go a day without complaining. When I first saw an inspiration Facebook picture (that’s always how these experiments happen, right?) that read “Go a day without complaining, and see how your life changes” I thought, sure. I can do that.

So, I tried to think of the perfect day to do it. Well, I couldn’t do it on Tuesday because I had a huge test, and I’m was going to complain about that obviously. Wednesday there were too many meetings, so that wouldn’t be possible. Stopping, I realized planning the day to stop complaining kind of defeated the purpose. Come Monday, I decided I just needed to try. However, as wise old Yoda once said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Once I started on Monday morning, I hadn’t even poured my first cup of coffee before I realized I had already complained about my test and a project to about three people. Well, guess I’ll start tomorrow. Tuesday I walked into my first class and loudly groaned, “I don’t want to take this quiz. I’m too stressed.” Okay, Wednesday it is.

Wednesday I burnt my arm on the stove and screamed about how stupid cooking was, and that’s when I realized I can’t keep starting the day over. Going on with the rest of my day, burnt arm and all, I decided to monitor my thoughts more. After a few conversations, I wasn’t quite sure what qualified as a complaint. I could still say “Ouch that coffee is really hot” or “That test may be harder than I’m thinking” without it counting right? Well…

to complain, verb. 
to express dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, censure, resentment, or grief; find fault
Well, talking about my burnt tongue definitely fell under “pain.” Before I talked about the wind being too cold, I started thinking about how glad I am to be wearing winter clothing. “How did your test go?” was answered with “Hopefully better than expected!” I felt like I actually got the hang of it. Crisis struck during a campaign and all of it went out the window. Calls needed to be made, my fears were on high alert, and I couldn’t help but vent about how stressed I had been all week.
At the end of the day, once I calmed down, I was defeated. I have made complaining such a big part of my life that I couldn’t even stop when I tried.
After my mental breakdown, I realized I only complained the next day about how I was out of cream cheese- valid reason. But after that, I was being more positive. I expressed my distress when I really needed to let it out, but if it wasn’t necessary, I tried a different way of looking at things. However, I also realized that although complaining less led me to think more intentionally and that paying attention to what I thought about made me think more positively, complaining every now and then didn’t really change my life. It wasn’t like I complained once and my whole day was ruined, but complaining less did make me feel better.
So, yes, not complaining for a day does make you look at your situation and life differently, but it also lets you realize that complaining is a part of life as a process. Saying we are frustrated and voicing it allows us to identify what is up and how we can change it. It’s how you deal with it, move forward and suck it up that really matters.
Once again, Facebook posts make me really skeptical about inspirational advice coming from a meme of a cat smelling a sunflower. I bet the person who re-posted it later that day complained about how no one liked their post. Just saying.
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