To complain, or not to complain

I am inviting you to a challenge.  A challenge that I have been thinking about for some time but honestly I have been afraid to undertake.  Yes, I have chosen delusion over reality. What is this challenge I invite you to join?  The 21 Day No Complaining Challenge. 

Why do we complain so much?

I don’t know about you, but I complain a lot.  It is not my intention to be someone who complains.  I am grateful for all that I have and the life I live.  I am beyond fortunate.  However, I have the habit of complaining.  It is a common practice for many.  It is an easy way to diffuse blame and a way to relieve stress.  Let’s be honest with ourselves.  It is a lazy act.  An act that is not in accordance with living a mindful life.  We are attracted to negative information.  Regardless of what activity we are involved in negative information will grab your amygdala’s attention above all else. 

I have read some reasons why we complain.  Everything from ego to the devil.  Some would say ego is the devil.  My take is that when we complain it supports our world view.  It helps us to maintain the illusionary self; The self that is separate from everything and everyone.  When you think of your life you think in stories.  Then our lives are the stories we tell ourselves.  Perhaps complaining is the brain's way of supporting those stories and world views.  It is an unconscious shield to protect us.

How I am completing the challenge

The idea is to have a bracelet or band so that when you catch yourself complaining you switch the band to the other wrist.  The key is to catch yourself.  I suspect that most of you have some form of complaining that is a habit.  It could be something as simple as thinking “I don’t like this person or thing.” The hard part of this exercise is catching yourself in the act.  My complaining is so habitual that I do not realize I just complained about something until a minute or two after the fact.

I am using beads that I wear on my wrist to help me remember to be “in the moment” and return to by breath.  Thoughts that I notice before I say something are allowed.  I have caught the thought before it becomes some form of action such as speaking it.  If I include thoughts as a measure to switch the beads I may never get past day one.  As it is, it might take me a year to get to 21 days.  If I notice I am verbally complaining I start the whole process over going back to day one.  This includes gossip.  I’m not much of a gossiper but I do find I criticize certain people for their actions and behavior from time to time.  Not much, but I do.  Complaining and gossiping are mind poisons.  In the world, we live in and if you are able to read this on one of your devices you have so much compared to others currently living and especially those living in the past.  There is nothing to complain about.  Do you have food, shelter, and water?  You are good.  Add in any meaning relationships you are set.

I began the challenge this past Monday.  It is now day 5, but as for the challenge, I am still on day one.  So far, the longest I have gone without complaining is three hours, not including sleeping.  I’m not sure if I complain in my sleep, I don’t usually remember my dreams, but there is a good possibility.

I invite you to join this challenge.  When we are able to get through 21 days without complaining it would make us Jedi Mind Masters.


Until Next Week,

Rich Decker – Mindful Accord