How much do you complain?
If I had been asked this question earlier this year I would have said “Not a lot” and followed it up with “I’m naturally positive, seeing the glass half full most of the time”
I would have been lying. Subconsciously – but lying all the same. Although I wouldn’t have known that until recently.
This was when I started reading the book ‘A Complaint Free World’ by Will Bowen and page after page it highlighted to me just how much I do actually complain and moan and bitch and on and on…Throughout the book there are examples of how complaining can affect your health – mental and physical, which made me pay close attention.
That is down to my episode with Bell’s Palsy as it has made me stop and reassess my health. (You can read about that in my blog post – Giving half a smile to Bell’s Palsy!). Looking back, I can connect the dots and can see clearly where the trigger points were building up to that fateful Sunday when the paralysis took over my face. Stress, overwhelm and complaining!
Complaining is ingrained in us. In our society. It is the norm. How often have you felt a connection to someone because you’ve had a moan together? I
was am that person! Using complaining as a comfort blanket, keeping the awkward silences at bay by filling the void with some useless moan. It’s raining! It’s cold! I’m tired! Using someone as a sounding board or personal echo chamber to have a bitch about a situation that you’ve been wallowing in instead of dealing with or moving on from it. Getting all keyboard warrior on Facebook to moan or take the piss out of something/someone so you can get a like or laugh from it.
Even before I got my hands on the book, I noticed how my body would feel once that initial buzz of sharing in misery had dissipated. Stomach in knots, an uneasy feeling – no resolution or further forward. A bitter taste. A complaint hangover.
Will Bowen said, ‘most people complain about their lives but very few people actually do anything about it’.
I don’t want to fall into that statistic of ‘most people’. That is why I have taken up the Complaint Free Challenge.
The challenge is no easy feat. You wear a bracelet (I have ordered an official complaint free bracelet from here but you can use an alternative) and each time you complain you have to switch the bracelet to the opposite wrist, plus, you go back to Day 1 the next day. No matter what day you are on!
It is said that the average person complains between 15-30 times a day which is why it can take between 4-8 months to complete the challenge and get to 21 days straight of no complaining!
I am 46 days into the challenge and today I am on Day 3. On two occasions I managed to get to Day 5 before falling back to the beginning. Not complaining is ridiculously hard. One day I stated I am choosing to go back to day 1 as I need to unleash – I ranted and didn’t feel better for it once I had calmed down. Most days are little slip ups. The other morning I had to text my friend to ask if in my drunken state I had to ‘go back to Day 1’ as I couldn’t remember. We laughed about it but I really do want to be honest with myself because I want lasting change where complaining isn’t my go-to.
It isn’t a race to get to day 21, the challenge, as in life, is a journey and what I learn along the way will be where the lessons lie.
I have already begun to notice a difference I am taking my time to address situations instead of speaking up before I’ve had chance to process the information. Situations have played out differently when I’ve chosen not to moan. I live in London, I know the tubes can be packed and lose signals and not run on time – I have known this for almost 4 years – what will complaining do about it?
I am still allowing myself to state facts from a situation that has arisen but I’m trying to do this from a place where I can get feedback instead of getting buy in to my woes. Then, I have the choice to move on from it or take action on it.
Wearing the purple bracelet has sparked up conversations due to people spotting it and asking what it meant. The majority of people have found it a really interesting challenge and said that they too could do with it.
Situations have played out better when I have chosen not to complain. My driving lessons are a happier experience, work is more enjoyable and I’m having less surface level conversations with people. Most importantly, I feel better within myself – my mindset is clearer.
I’m going to start tracking my journey each day on Instagram with a selfie of the day (following the idea after watching Will Bowen’s video of him doing this). This will keep me on track, keep me accountable and maybe inspire others. I’m excited to see what doors it opens.
If you’re up for the challenge why not grab a copy of the book and join me – https://www.willbowen.com/complaintfree/.
I’m going to end this post with a line from the book which I found really powerful in so many ways.
‘Most people find a comfortable excuse to give up on themselves’.
Thanks for reading. Please share this post if you have enjoyed it and think someone else could benefit from reading.