So I tried it. I went a week without complaining.
Or did I?
I began by creating a daily ‘complaining diary’.
At the end of each day I wrote a paragraph about the times I’d complained. After each day, I tried to be mindful of making a point to not complain.
This was an interesting experiment and I failed miserably. However, I learned a lot about the nature of complaining. Being a student with exams and essays always on the horizon, and living in a cold and windy city are basically the ingredients for the perfect complainer.
I found out that I did actually end up complaining less as the days went by.
But the moments when I forgot what I was supposed to be doing, were the moments I found myself complaining.
Complaining is the act of being dissatisfied with something and expressing it verbally, often to whomever is around you. ‘It’s so cold, my feet are going numb!’, ‘the weather is so grey today, I wish I were in Hawaii’, or ‘you didn’t call me, nothing is going right, I feel sick’. These examples show that complaining is about not finding solutions, simply being dissatisfied and stating it as if it were a constant situation rather than something to change.
I found some interesting sites which try to assist with this genetic phenomenon that is complaining. On the site The Tiny Buddha there is a list of ways to complain less and be happier. It seems the trick is to try to appreciate what you have and look for solutions to problems rather than to dwell on daily irritations.
Complaining is making a judgement about a situation one perceives impossible to control and in order to try to regain control, we voice our dissatisfaction with it. However, there are better solutions than this!
The site becoming minimalist sees complaining as adding clutter to your life. It is unnecessary and can be avoided by engaging in meaningful activities such as yoga or meditation.
If you don’t complain you will never have to say sorry for having done so.
You will seldom have to apologise for yourself after realising you have spent an evening complaining about something to a friend, relative or person on the street. You can sit and feel happy that your focus has been on enjoying the situation rather than whining about it. The best thing is to change the situation if you can, and if you can’t, accept that you cannot change it and try to laugh and see the comical side – life isn’t always pretty!
I think it is possible to have a week without complaining but it will take lots of practice and dedication. I think it takes a change of mind-set and a lot of appreciation. Even if that means appreciating the student lifestyle, despite all the exams and stress which may be involved.
Here’s a challenge:
See if you can go a week without complaining. At the end each day make a note (a short paragraph) about how your day went and whether you complained and at what specific moments, as well as how it made you feel. I suggest concentrating on the positive aspects of how much better it made you feel and this will add motivation when you feel the temptation to complain, even just a little!
Please note, it’s virtually impossible!