I first heard about the “complaint free world” movement last month. It was given as an example of how a good idea can take hold, get a little publicity, and spread like wildfire. Then one of my clients mentioned she was doing the practice. Every time she said a complaint she took a bracelet off one wrist and switched it to the other. This morning a friend sent me a blog post on how he was doing the challenge as well.
The first time I heard about this challenge, I thought it was a great idea for other people. However, I disregarded it for myself. I didn’t think it was anything I needed at this point in my life. My awareness of what I am doing is fairly developed, having worked on it for decades. However, I tend to take notice when something passes by my attention three times.
The challenge is simply to not speak a complaint for a full 21 days. You wear a bracelet as a reminder. If you slip and complain, you move the bracelet to the other wrist and begin counting your days over. The idea originated with a Will Bowen, a Unity minister, who noticed a lot of complaining around him and offered this idea as a solution for people to break the habit. He went on to write a book which you can get on Amazon:
I began the challenge today. I’m using the bracelet in the picture – starting on my left wrist. Lets see how long before it moves.
The first question for me was, “What is a complaint?” If I go outside and say, “It is cold” am I complaining or am I making an observation. I think my strict definition will be that an observation without a judgement word will be considered a non-complaint. For instant, “It is cold” or “I am cold” will pass, but “It is miserable out” or “It is too cold” will be a break. The question of tone and intent comes into play. “I am cold” with a whine would be a complaint. However, I am not going to count that as a break, although I sense I won’t be saying anything with a whine for the next 21 days.
Gossiping is also out. This used to be an issue for me, and I managed to wipe it out years ago. Again, there is some gray area with this. Any kind of talk about someone else, I question as gossip. However, sometimes, such as in giving a recommendation to someone about another practitioner, it seems appropriate to provide my observations about the person’s style, etc.
The critical thing for me is to be aware of what I am saying and what it creates for me and the people around me. I am looking forward to closing watching my thoughts and words for the next 21 days. Would you join me? I look forward to your comments below.