Mar 1…A Sunday with 4-6 inches of snow. This month’s goal is to not complain about anything for 31 days. Like my other goals, I always start with a little pre-work before the first day of the month just to make sure I’m prepared. The only pre-work required for this goal was to define what complaining is for me and to figure out the top 3 things I complain about….as if it wasn’t going to be apparent soon enough. I’ve come up with what I consider the formula for a complaint:
Complaint = A general statement with a semi-negative tone + an “always” or “never” statement + a personal dig on the target.
So it could go a little something like….
“Wow, they’re really late to this meeting” + “You know, she’s always late” + “Did you even see what she was wearing today?”
“I haven’t heard from so-and-so in forever” + “Actually, she never calls me first” + “I knew she was too wrapped up in her own life”
I like to say that I’m typically complaining (sometimes masked as gossip) if I’d end the sentence with “…and they’re ugly too.”
Don’t get me wrong, I never call anyone ugly and am still convinced God would probably appear on this Earth and slap me for it if I ever did, but the sentiment is sometimes that of which I’m not very proud.
Anyway, on Mar 1 eve, Chris and I were driving back to Dayton to meet up with family so it was the perfect opportunity to identify what we think I complain most about. I kind of thought it was going to be more me sharing and him listening, but he very quickly filled in my #2 for me which I was in denial about and later agreed. So here’s what we think (this is pre-trying not to complain so we’ll see if these still stand at the end of March):
1. Work – I never complain about the work but oftentimes about various people. Funny, because I would say that I love my company and my job.
2. Not feeling well – That January blog post just shined a big light on how often I say I don’t feel well. As noted before, it’s normally just a “blah” feeling or a headache or just tired. Interesting, because I always say I’m never sick.
3. Not feeling in shape – I don’t know that I vocalize this one as much as I just think it in my head. Who doesn’t do this one though, right? But again, interesting since I would define myself as “in shape” in a general sense.
So there you have it. There’s my dirt. I typically describe myself as a positive person and felt pretty validated when others would say “really? but you don’t really complain ever” when I told them this was my goal this month. I don’t complain to many, but I think I complain a lot to a few.
So…back to Mar 1. I made a mental note everytime I felt like complaining about something that day. Not long drawn out complaints, but just the general side statements. I wallowed in the high count and just felt fairly down in general. I bought myself some organic coffee, a frame for a poem my mom wrote me, and a trench coat online to make myself feel better.
I also talked a lot less.
Mar 2…Yay, a work day! I do better with my 8-5 and my workouts and my routine. That 4 inches of snow on a Sunday where I couldn’t go to yoga and waited too long to eat my third meal wasn’t setting me up for any sort of success. I woke up to a Facebook feed of complaints posted by friends complaining about the weather and life in general. Lovely. I caught myself a couple times today at work telling someone something that was really dancing around something I wanted to vent about (side note – I think venting is totally healthy and needed but for the purpose of this blog/goal I’m going all in). I tried to struggle through the story without a negative tone and just convince myself I was stating facts, but then it was just weird and felt unnatural. One thing I’ve realized after 2 days – I thought those who complain to me would be the people I’d need to avoid, but that’s not always the case (but that’s not an invite to bring your complaints my way). Typically, when people complain to me I tend to offset that with something positive or some type of humor. I may agree and participate in a little gossip, but in general I don’t get sucked into the complaining. Now, I do leave those types of conversations physically and emotionally drained, but I’m not normally the one stirring that pot. It’s the people who are good listeners in my life that get my ear full. Those are the ones I will turn to with a complaint.
I don’t know where this goal is going to take me. It’s awkward and it’s uncomfortable but I’m hoping this turns into some sort of profound learning.
If you read this far…try not complaining tomorrow.