June: No complaining this month.
Yikes. It turns out this is difficult. I started my month pondering what it means to complain and trying to negotiate with myself. If I am telling a colleague at work something negative about another human being, but it is something that is a true fact, then is that really complaining? Isn’t it just sharing information? After about the first week I made this distinction: even if something is true, if I am telling someone something negative about someone else, or about anything really, and there is no reason to be saying the negative except because I feel like it makes me feel better (in the moment), then that is complaining.
Even with this realization, I realized that I like to complain. It feels really good. However, I think it feels good in the short run, but not in the long run. First, it spreads negative energy for no productive reason. Second, if it is negative about a person or something someone did, then I know deep down that it isn’t nice to spread the negative and I will probably feel guilty later on. Third, to the extent it feels good because I am consciously or unconsciously elevating myself above the other person, that it just an ego trip that I want to work to overcome. I recently heard someone say that drinking alcohol is stealing happiness from tomorrow. I feel that complaining has a similar path. It feels good now, but not later. (And for the record, I do drink alcohol regularly, for better or for worse, usually not too much, but I certainly understand the sentiment).
Despite my realization, I probably didn’t have a complaint free day in my month, or at least not many. My husband is gone a lot and I will say that it was much easier when he was not around. And I was definitely more aware of my complaining. Yet, I caught myself being totally aware that I was about to complain and still doing it anyway. There were also many other times, I am sure, when I was not aware.
Still, the first step to habit change is to be aware of current habits. In this month, I definitely became more aware of when I complain and why. I hope that this awareness will continue, and that I will continue to strengthen my ability to change course and not complain, and possibly, eventually, slowly complain less and less.
Are you ready to give it a go? Aim to go 3 days without complaining and see what you think and share your experience.