A friend once sent me a purple rubber bracelet imprinted with the words “NO Complaining” and invited me to join her in a 30-day, no-complaining contest. I must admit that as a motivational speaker and human potential trainer, I truly thought this was a ridiculously simple request in which I would clearly have the advantage! I mean wasn’t it true that I taught and lived the mantras of “creating your own reality” and “living from a platform of gratitude” and “choosing your internal experience regardless of your external circumstances,” and blah, blah, blah? Little did I know I would barely make it through the first day before having to switch the bracelet to the other arm and reset my 30-day counter! Okay, cut me some slack here… after all, it was pouring rain outside!!
The truth is we get something from complaining or we wouldn’t do it … something big: sympathy and attention. And we like it. Some of us crave it. When we recognize that, it becomes at least somewhat easier to notice our tendency to “enjoy” and indulge in our own complaining. When we complain, we actually get to act like we want something to be different without actually having to do anything about it. And complaining adds nothing to the solution of a problem, the inherent joy of the day, or the opportunity of our present moment. When we complain, we trade a temporary “feel good” for a more lasting feeling of empowerment and personal contribution to the flow of positive energy surrounding us.
In our culture, the “no complaining rule” is not an easy commitment but the personal power available from it is well worth the effort.
“The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
~ Walt Whitman as quoted by Robin Williams in the movie, Dead Poet’s Society