This past week I set myself a challenge. A challenge which I haven’t done all that well with. My challenge? To quit complaining for a week. Sounds simple right? That’s what I thought too …. as I set my intention at the start of the week it all seemed straight forward enough but as the days went by the severity of my challenge began to stink in.
It has amazed me that in focusing on not moaning, complaining or bitching I now realise just how much I do! Sometimes I hear myself saying things as they come spilling out of my mouth without any real thought … that is how ingrained my habit is obviously. Admittedly not all of it is external, sometimes I catch the thought before it leaves my mouth, but it has become apparent that my days are scattered full of wee moments of complaint. They are short lived and fleeting to be sure but there never the less.
In the process of noticing my own moaning I have also become sharply aware of others comments and/or tone. I find myself constantly questioning ‘Is this complaining about something/someone or just explaining about a difficult situation?’ What can seem like a statement is easily turned into a moan with the tone used or a look given. Sometimes I even find myself complaining in a joking way ….. having a laugh and making it feel less of a complaint. Is this still complaining when I make light of an uncomfortable situation? It may get a laugh but at what cost to me and the other person involved?
The Stress Experts blog explains it this way …. ‘So, complaining is what you do when you are in a negative state/mood and you talk about negative things, hoping someone will join you in the swill you’re swimming in.’ When I look at it that way I tend to let myself off the hook a little. My complaining tends to be an offload without wanting anyone to ‘come swim in the swill with me’ though sometimes (if I’m being completely honest) that is kind of nice too! My intention usually isn’t to ‘get at anyone’ or moan incessantly. Ultimately my intention is to take more responsibility in my life and moaning about things is pretty much the opposite of that. Hence the challenge! As Bryon Katie says (and I’m paraphrasing here) there are three kinds of business; yours, theirs and the universe’s. You can’t do jack about two of them so may as well just focus on your own business and make the most of that. Complaining about the other two isn’t going to get me anywhere and while it can be hard to ‘leave’ some stuff alone, I always feel better when I do.
I haven’t completely stopped myself whinging, complaining or moaning and I’m not even sure if that is possible if I’m being honest but I am definitely catching myself more. Catching myself both internally with my thoughts and externally which is allowing me space to either stop or redirect the conversation more. The good thing is that in complaining less and looking for the positives more I am actually helping to reduce my stress and find more balance which is something all of us can benefit from. So I’m going to continue with it this week; practise makes perfect they say.
Hope this finds you happy, healthy and loving the life you’re in …. warts and all