The challenge: Stop complaining
The duration: A whole month

Compendious Result: Moderate success! I complain less, have an idea of the difference between social/productive complaints and the sticky grumpymaking kind, and am generally content to not only think less caustic-denouncingly, but express less of it too.

Yep. My goal, was to not complain for a month.

Keep laughing. It’s ok.

There are too many reasons why this was a good idea to list out. The most applicable one here, is that I think fighting fair, which is something I’ve discovered I am still rather abysmal at, starts with the little things, and the things I say to myself, which are mostly, frankly, still pretty awful.

The beginning

I’d like to say that I hit the ground running with my first month-long personal experiment as part of Year of the Nee and did really well with it. Boy, did that really not happen. At first.

The first few days of this challenge were awful; at every turn, I saw myself failing. I’d say, if I were to guess, about 75% of my unmanaged thoughts in the first week of June were complaints of some sort.

Mostly things like the stupid fuckers behind my apartment fighting, or something on my computer not working. My food not being warm enough. Stupid shit. Useless shit.

And roughly 20% of those, I wanted to post online. It was nearly a physical struggle to stop myself. Because my complaints are WITTY and BITING and FUNNY and SNARKY and BUUUURRRNN.

The first step was not to do that, to let the complaints come and go without honoring them by immortalizing and spreading them. But that wasn’t tempering the frequency that they were occurring as much as I wanted.

I realized I needed some help to succeed in this. So I adopted an oldie but goodie, and started documenting three good things that happened every day.

The conclusion

Documenting Three Things and Why helped me focus (and also observe that on particularly bad days I had to stop myself for backhand complaining even then..), and I think was integral to my success, in that it anchored me and helped me get through the hard part.

My goal is to continue to stick with this awareness, reverting to daily “3 things” documentation when required, to maintain a better relationship with complaining, and avoiding using it as a past time too automatically.