A recent post of ours suggested not spending money for a month. I’d like to follow up on that and suggest not complaining—for just one day.
Complaining is one of many habits that gets in the way of creating a happy, healthy life. Whether you’re dishing it out or on the receiving end, this behavior is annoying and unproductive.
Because it’s next to impossible to change others, the first step in changing this behavior is looking in the mirror. Yep, that person. Me. You. Guilty as charged.
Regardless of when it started or what made you think this behavior is acceptable, it’s time to take the high road and at least attempt to be kind and sympathetic. Challenge yourself to not say anything negative about anything or anyone—including yourself. Especially yourself.
For those of us who spend a lot of time complaining, stopping this behavior—even for one day—is not going to be easy. Most of us don’t even realize how often we react with snarky or nasty comments. If you think you’re exempt, pay attention to what you say the next time you’re stuck in traffic, waiting in line, or attending yet another function you’d rather not go to. Simply observe and make note and keep your thoughts to yourself.
This means you can’t call your best friend to complain about your mother-in-law, spouse, lack of spouse, recent bad date, haircut, hair color, grown children, money, weight, or anything I might have missed. In other words, no whining or criticizing—anyone or anything. As my mother used to say, “bite your tongue.” Not really, but you get the idea.
Why do we complain? According to Will Bowen, author of A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted, one reason is to get attention. I see how that might work, but honestly, there are more constructive ways to get others to focus on you. For starters, you could be kind, helpful, fun-loving, and happy.
The truth: most people don’t like to be around you when you’re bitching and moaning.
Of course, there are days when we get up on the wrong side of the bed. For no apparent reason, we start off grumpy and the day becomes filled with one annoying irritation after another. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Just for today, when the temptation occurs, instead of complaining, aim for accepting what is and take my mother’s advice: bite your tongue!