Today I complained either out loud or in my head 33 times by 4.34pm. Nine of these complaints were made before I have even finished my coffee at 8.17am.
I will admit to you that I have been labelled a whinger since the dawn of time, by many other humans, including my parents, husband and work colleagues. I complained about the sand on the beach, carrying my own skis, my fear of dogs, the rocket clock tune on play school and there was even a phase when I would only eat dinner UNDER the table. (With the cat.)
As an adult, I have done a lot of work on changing my negative thought patterns, working with my anxiety and becoming a more positive person all over.
Yet the fact remains that I LOVE to complain… about all the little and not even terrible things in my amazing and awesome life.
The reason I decided to count how many times I complained today was that I found out yesterday that a social movement has started against complaining! It has been around for a few years but I thought to myself what a fabulous idea this is!
The idea of The Complaint Free World started in 2006 when a reverend called Will Bowen challenged his congregation to go 21 days without making a complaint, his argument was that by complaining about nothing all the time, we in turn bring negative energy to ourselves and then attract things that we don’t want.
Want to try? This is how you can go about it.
You put a wrist band on your left hand, and every time you complain you move it to the right. And so on. (Today I stopped and made strikes on a post it note I kept with me all day.) (By the way if something bad ACTUALLY happens to you then REAL complaints are allowed, like your coffee had burnt milk or you stubbed your toe!)
Bowen asks you to change the wrist band so you become aware of your thoughts, this is EVEN if you THINK up a complaint or criticism and do not say it aloud.
He said he took around four months to stop complaining and the average person takes around seven months. That is a lot of complaining.
I whinge about anything, it is too hot, I haven’t had many articles published, I did not get to Pilates yesterday, why don’t we have floorboards yet, the apartment is too small, the traffic to work sucks, the walk from the bus stop when I have been to the shops is too far, I am eating too much, I am too hungry, having a pimple, not finding my socks anywhere, finding cat fur everywhere,…. the list is infinite.
I could complain until the end of time.
I complain about things I can’t control and for no reason or outcome. For example thinking every morning about how the shit traffic in Sydney is, is only going to lower my mood and make my morning commute worse.
Of a similar vibe, was this article I read this week about anxiety and depression being a phenomena of the western world. Rachel Nolan argues that as a nation we have let go of our spiritual values, and seek instant gratification and value from material things. We are always in a state of frustration and anxiety, because only a small proportion of us can actually have an afford the ‘perfect life’ that we should have (that is not perfect by the way but is the one that is presented to us in the media and in magazines.)
It is an interesting concept that we are all stressed out of our heads and anxious about the polished, airbrushed lives we are meant to live. We are all anxious because we are striving for what is not real, attainable nor will lead to spiritual fulfillment. She writes about people in impoverished countries, having less but not feeling anxious like we do.
Do you complain about things that are within your power to change?
Are you anxious about things that you can’t control?
I know that I am.
So for the next 21 days I am going to track my complaining.
Will you join me?
How many times a day do you think you have a whinge about nothing?