Last week I decided to give myself a new challenge. I was feeling despondent; sad over the anniversary loss of my dad, the anniversary loss of my cat. I needed to get out of a dark place. The challenge was: to spend one week without complaining. “Is that possible?” I was asked. “Yes, for a whole week.”
In all, I received about an A minus for the assignment. It wasn’t a perfect week of bliss; I did find myself slipping. But the key here is that I caught myself in action and I stopped the negativity in its tracks. It wasn’t easy either, I’d received a rejection from an agent that I’d sent my novel to – that happened on day one of the campaign. Yet I prevailed – pretty much. Here are three things that I learned from my experiment and why I will do it again.
Complaining is Negative and Breeds Negativity.
The words of the Texas pastor Joel Osteen come to mind: “If you complain, you’ll remain.” I kept these words at the fore of my mind when I was trying to avoid complaining. Complaining puts us into a downward spiral, it feeds on itself. It says, “I am not happy about [place your item here] and I’m not moving forward because I need to tell you about it.” This behavior breeds negative energy. When I made the conscious effort not to complain, I felt altogether lighter; I chose to speak of happier more positive subjects. I felt like I was growing toward the light, so to speak. Now, even though I’m not following my campaign slavishly, I do aim to catch myself when I feel the urge to get grumpy about an event.
Not Complaining Breeds Gratitude.
When I told my friends on Facebook that I was spending a week not complaining many remarked, “Good for you, there is always something to be grateful for.” And throughout the week, I found this to be true. Not complaining almost forces you to be grateful for more things and observe what you already do have. Even when I was disappointed that the agent said, “No,” I thought to myself, “Well, he did send me a detailed reasoning of why he said no; perhaps I can use this to redefine my novel and get a ‘yes’ next time.” Not complaining immediately forces one to look at the positive spin on what would otherwise be a negative event.
Not Complaining Allows Good Things to Happen.
Even though I received a rejection on my novel proposal, I didn’t let negativity overwhelm me. I kept moving and have been sharpening up my story ever since. Coincidently, in that same week, I also received a kind, personal email note from an assistant editor of one of the magazines I queried about another project. They asked, enthusiastically, to have a look at it. So, in short, it seems the lesson here is this: keep moving. When negativity strikes and the urge to complain creeps in, keep looking forward to the next great thing that is positive, it will arrive.
In all, my non-complaining campaign has been a positive experience. There have been moments – I’ll admit – when I’ve wanted to have an all-out complain-a-thon when my campaign had finished. Yet, I kept remembering back to how light I’d felt when I resisted the urge to complain and now have become slower to do so. I would much rather feel light than heavy and burdensome, I would much rather open my heart then remain closed. Yes, bad things are going to happen, but when you keep moving past them, the good things seem to come around quickly enough.
Talk To Me:
Is there something in your life that you’ve been complaining about? Would you consider taking a week off from complaining to reflect? I’d love to know. If you’d care to share, please leave a comment below. As always, thank you for reading and do consider sharing Body Talk with your friends.
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