Yesterday, I said to a friend that I would take part in this Facebook event where you’re not allowed to complain about anything for a whole day. I hope this wasn’t’ some kind of a hint! I don’t like to think that I’m someone who complains much but today of all days, I was tested. I remember thinking at the time how easy I’d find it because I don’t really complain, but this exercise got me thinking.
I’d love to say this is a lesson I’ve learnt but the truth is that I’m writing this article because I’m not entirely sure how I feel. This is one of the reasons I love to write — to help me organise my thoughts.
Taking note of the words I say to myself. Complaining to yourself still counts as complaining!
The day started with me leaving my bike helmet on the underground. It was a pretty long journey, but still, when I realised my error, I was alone and didn’t have anyone to complain to, but I did find myself getting temporarily annoyed at myself. Does thinking count as complaining? Or does it only count if you’re speaking out loud?
After today, I’d probably say the words you say to yourself are absolutely every bit as important as the words you say to others. If anything, perhaps complaining inwardly to yourself is worse because you’re not always aware of it! This coincides perfectly with the hypnosis course I’m currently doing created by Marisa Peer (article to come soon), which gets you to look closely at the language you’re using when you speak to yourself.
As a side note, I highly recommend anyone to do this exercise, which is one of the first exercises I did on Marisa’s course. Record yourself speaking about anything for a few minutes and look closely at the language you use. Is the language more positive, negative, uplifting…?
Complaining vs speaking up. What’s the difference?
My next thing is related to a company whose service I recently used. I have no interest in bad mouthing anyone but I did write three whole paragraphs today for a review I was going to publish on several different sites.
I’d given them one star and was about to hit publish when I stopped and thought that leaving a permanently bad review before settling matters personally was probably bad taste and even though I wasn’t saying anything out loud, it definitely counted as complaining.
My third thing of the day came in the form of an invite to a yoga related committee where I would have to give my opinions. The truth is that for the yoga related thing I was invited to — I don’t hold a strong personal opinion. In my initial feedback I was purely responding to what was there — some of it might have seemed negative, some positive, but the intention was to be as constructive and objective as I could be. So, my next question is, what’s the difference between complaining about something and disagreeing or believing something could be done in a different way?
As I write this, I would say that complaining feels like there’s no outcome — it’s just venting for the sake of it without trying to resolve anything — either that or you’re responding from a spiteful place. So, what about the latter? What about plain disagreement or believing that something could be improved or done in a different way?
I feel there’s a big difference even if these two situations might look the same on the outside, i.e. they both seem negative, but in reality, they couldn’t be more different. That difference lies in the intention.
So, my conclusion? Here are my reminders to myself. Feel free to disagree.
Have an opinion but try to be neutral when listening to others so you can fully understand where they’re coming from. Speak up when you need to but be aware of what your intention is. If it’s to piss someone off, then think again, but if your intention is to make an improvement or highlight an error, then it’s important not to sit back and be apathetic.
Complaining has this kind of endless roundabout feeling to it where nothing gets resolved, but calmly speaking your mind might help to provide a solution to a problem. Of course, sometimes there is just a need to vent, at which point, let it out — dance, shout, cuddle an animal, do yoga, make art or buy some boxing gloves. While complaining gets boring, holding stuff in isn’t healthy either.
And on that note, here’s Little Cat in the sink. She loves to catch the drips of the tap.