Monday, July 28, 2014

Four things I learned from not complaining for 24 hours...

Truth time: I can get going on a good complaining kick with the best of 'em. In fact, given my competitive nature, if I'm provoked, I just might turn the whole thing into one giant sport. So maybe that's why I challenged my mom a few weeks ago to go a full 24 hours without complaining. I was up for the challenge (who couldn't benefit from a little less negativity in their lives?), but I honestly wasn't sure what to expect. Could we do it? Would we even last a day? A morning? Breakfast?

Well, I'm happy to report that we, indeed, did last the whole day, without too much under-our-breath huffing or pulling our hair out in sheer frustration. In fact, just yesterday, my mom remarked that we could probably benefit even more from doing the 24-Hour No-Complain Challenge again, and I can't help but agree. I've been thinking about the big lessons I learned from this seemingly little exercise. Here are four of those big lessons that stand out...

You have more control over your life than you think
True, there are just some things in life that are out of your control, and you just have to come to terms with that. But how you react to the things that happen to you? A lot of that is well within your control. You control how you look at it. You chart your own course, and no one can do that for you. I'm always telling my mom to "take back your power" when she gets herself all stressed out, and I think the same thing applies here.

There is a fine line between observing and complaining
Several times during the day, my mom and I found ourselves on the verge of uttering a not-so-very-positive sentence, so to try and rein ourselves in, we tried to re-frame said sentences as mere observations. Why? Because it's a very slippery slope from an observation (i.e. "it's hot outside...") to the black hole of complaining (i.e. "I hate this hot weather. I think it's going to kill me...and my day us ruined..."). See what a fine line it is? You want to stay on the right side of it, obviously.

Turns out, Abe Lincoln was right
Our 16th president was famous for saying that "folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be" and if you think about it, there's a lot of truth in that. If you choose happiness in one aspect of your life, chances are that it will carry over into other areas. It's almost like the ripple effect -- one teeny, tiny pebble of happiness could be felt all around you. Can you feel the calm yet?

My shoulders felt noticeably lighter
When I let all that complaining go, I felt as though a heavy weight had been lifted off my shoulders. You don't fully realize how much extra useless baggage you're carrying around until, well, you're not carrying it around anymore. It's one of the rare moments in life when simply not caring is quite possibly the greatest feeling in the world. When it comes to complaining, never underestimate that!
Did you take part in the No-Complain Challenge? What was the experience like? Was it what you expected? What did you learn? Will you be doing it again? Here's hoping you're relaxed and calm on this summer Monday, friends! xoxo

[Photos via We Heart It]


  1. I took the challenge, but I did complain a few times. The thing I noticed was that I was aware of my complaining, and stopped. It also made me aware of how much the people around me complain.

    I'm definitely going to try to reduce the amount of complaining I do to zero. :)

  2. Same here, Liz...once you realize you're doing it, it's easy to get in pattern of being aware of it and stopping yourself. :)


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