Don’t think that I’ve forgotten my pledge quit complaining cold turkey. I’ve been reluctant to post an update, because well…I kind of failed. Big time.
I’ll dissect what happened:
Day 1: Mostly a success. The first day was a Saturday and with my pledge fresh in my mind I held my tongue through minor disappointments and inconveniences. Arrived at the thrift store 10 minutes before they closed? Look how I still managed to find a pair of earrings! Dinner was mediocre? It was nice to have a night out!
Basically not complaining meant that if I couldn’t say anything nice I didn’t say anything at all. Which wasn’t really that hard because it was a pretty nice Saturday.
But it got more complicated after that. The line became blurry — was saying it was cold a complaint? Or just a statement of fact, if it was, in fact cold? Was saying anything that wasn’t positive a complaint? And if so, how can you effectively communicate with other humans if you only say positive things?
By Day 3 I was already giving myself a pass. I had dinner to catch up with a friend and she wanted to know what had been going on in my life. Well, I’m a human in the world and so of course my life isn’t all sunshine and light and leaving out the negative or twisting it into positive statements wouldn’t be accurate. “I’m trying to not complain, so it’s going to be hard to tell you,” I warned her before launching into everything (complaints and all).
And well, everything you hear about slippery slopes is true. I pretty much reverted to my old ways. Sometimes it was because of all of those societal reasons–commiserating about the weather or other shared annoyances. But sometimes I just needed to vent — I just wanted to tell someone about my crappy customer service experience or my sore shoulders.
Two things I can say that this experiment gave me is awareness and accountability.
Even though I fell off the wagon, I had an awareness of when I was complaining that I lacked before and while that awareness didn’t always keep me quiet, it likely did keep me from spewing forth as much negativity as I might have otherwise.
I often wonder how much my friends and family read my blog, but I got my answer with that post. “How’s the not complaining thing going?” was a question I heard a lot. And that post turned out to be one of my most popular in a long time. So either everyone thinks I complain a lot and really needed to cut it out, or a longing to have a more positive outlook on life is something that a lot of people identify with. I’m assume it’s the latter, because I’m not that bad, right?