I was recently given the opportunity to participate in a No Complaining challenge. There was an app we could use (and I’m all about tracking things with apps) and the object was if you complained, you had to go back to day 1. The goal was to not complain for 31 days. Easy peasy, right? I am not a chronic complainer, so I was sure this would be a piece of cake. And then it was Day 2 . . .
On Day 2, I found myself complaining in my head about annoyances at the office. At least I was cognizant of the challenge on other topics on which I could have complained and stopped myself. But that damn voice in my head did complain, so back to Day 1 we go.
Day 1, Attempt 2. Again I complained in my head in response to a sticky note left for me on my desk. I call my inner voice Lucy. She is my inner child (not the fun one, but the sarcastic, sometimes mean, and obviously professional complainer child). She is named after Lucy from the Peanuts cartoon because that’s how I see my inside voice. Sweet and helpful on the outside, but would just as soon pull the football away just as you’re about to kick it as take your nickel to tell you how dumb you are to fall for that again.
Day 1, Attempt 3. Lots of internal complaining again. Damn it, Lucy, shut the hell up!
I have since lost count. I still use the app, but every single day I press the “I complained” button so it goes back to Day 1. This shouldn’t be this hard. There were several days when I actually complained out loud. But I also think sometimes you have to vent to someone. Otherwise, it will build up inside you until every single thing that person or that environment does irks you no end. So, yes, I have vented to friends–and complained.
Another thing I found myself doing was once I clicked on Day 1, it was a free for all. I complained like my life depended on it. I was getting the full advantage of starting all over again. And trust me, I know how awful that is to do to yourself. That’s like slipping on your diet for one meal and spending the rest of the day with the “What the hell, I’ll start again tomorrow” attitude and eating everything in sight. Ah . . . I know that stinking thinking well.
I swear I did not see myself as a chronic complainer–and then I started listening to Lucy. Lucy is really not a nice person. She says things she shouldn’t to me about me, things I should ignore, things that make me feel bad about myself, things that may be true but honestly don’t matter. So instead of a No Complaining Challenge, I think I will take the Shut Lucy Up Challenge. I need to learn to calm Lucy down and teach her to say good things. I hope she’s up for it!