Yesterday I got a taxi (I had just collected my cat from the vet), as I climbed into the taxi, the driver let out a sigh (that sounded somewhat disapproving). Straight away I got on the defensive and was going to make a formal complaint to the taxi company about the driver’s poor attitude. Heck! Right in front of me, on the dash board, was the number I could ring to make the complaint! The stars must of all been aligned for me to experience such a fortuitous event!
As we headed away, the taxi driver and I started talking and she turned out to be a nice person (she even discounted the fare for me for no reason). That’s when I got to thinking about my reaction to her first reaction. Funny how we can set each other off isn’t it?
When I returned to work, I mentioned to my colleagues about how I was going to make a complaint about the driver, but then how I changed my mind. It was one of my colleagues that mentioned about a challenge she had done (she had mentioned it to me before). It sounds simple enough:
Stop complaining for 21 days. At the beginning wear a bracelet, or something similar, around your wrist and try and keep it on the same wrist. If you complain, then you have to put the bracelet on the opposite wrist and start the 21 days all over again!
So, in light of my “taxi incident”, I thought I would take up the challenge. I am going to keep you all updated as to my progress as I face the next 21 days without trying to complain. I like to call it my “Anti-Complaining Campaign” (or ACC for short!)
DAY 1: Seems easy enough!
This morning I wake up with a focus: I will not complain today!! I have my band around my left wrist.
But I have to find out what is actually meant by complaining? How is complaining defined. If you look up the dictionary definitions, you’ll find that it might be easier just to keep your mouth shut all day and not say anything to anyone!! I needed a more concrete example, something that sets off alarm bells in my head “You are about to complain!! Stop!!”
So how do I define complaining for this challenge? I asked the guys at work and we settled on the understanding that it is anything that is deemed to be whinging, whining or just “letting of steam” (e.g. “I so hate the way that Eric keeps being let off the hook. It’s like nothing sticks to him. And he’s so smug!!“; “I woke up this morning and my husband was in the foulest mood. I gave him a good breakfast and he didn’t even say thank-you! Some days I don’t know why I bother!“; “OMG!! Does anyone know how to replace the paper in the printer when they realise it has run out! What a pack of losers I am surrounded with!“) Any of these sound familiar?
So…how did I go on my first day?
To be honest with you all, it’s hard work! You become so conscious of your thoughts and you have to stop them before they just blurt out your mouth!!
This afternoon, I felt the strong urge to complain. My mind was going “Just a little complaint. You’ve been good all day, holding back and not saying anything. Just a small whinge. It can be about the way the stapler is sitting. Look at it, it’s all crooked!!” I fought back! “No!!”
I thought about how complaining makes you feel. It makes you feel good, I just wanted to let it all out in a flood. Just release it in a torrent…let the negativity flow out and you’ll feel good! And you do feel good after a good whinge. That’s the interesting part. Complaining is so egotistical. It’s all about you!! It makes you feel worthwhile in a sense. You are justifying things. You feel better because you think “I’m not like that person.” “I don’t like the way you have just treated me!” Your ego has just been massaged, especially when others get involved in your complaining session! Nothing like having other people justifying your justification! You’re righteous and those that disagree are to be condemned.
So Day 1 is complete. Success!! No complaining today. 🙂 BRING ON DAY 2!