Complaint Free for 21 Days: The Takeaways

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Why did I choose this challenge? Relationships are really all we have here in this life. I wanted to discipline myself to cultivate better interactions with people, both personally and professionally.

Complaint Free - climberIn order to fully participate in this challenge 24/7, I had to let people know what I had taken on. Why? Often, I hesitated to speak right away.

Other times, I stopped talking mid-sentence, making it courteous to share the story behind the purple bracelet I was now wearing because of A Complaint Free World‘s 21-Day Complaint Free Challenge.

Because I shared part of this journey in January’s Worms Eating at the Core column, here I share the complete diary.

  • Day 1 – I learned to exercise my choice to refuse to complain, even if legitimate in my opinion. At times, I did myself what another agreed to do. This often worked out more to my satisfaction.
  • Day 2 – This early in the Challenge, I learned how stress-reducing it is to decide immediately to choose to stay Complaint-Free. Annoyance gone, I move on.
  • Day 3 – The opposite of voicing a complaint is voicing a gratitude. This huge break-through felt so good to discover and own.
  • Day 4 – Next, I learned to give a sincere blessing to the source of my displeasure. How freeing this feels. Hard to feel disagreeable when you are blessing someone or something.
  • Day 5 – Staying the course Complaint-Free also means not complaining about me. Imagine…no more beating me up about what I did or failed to do.
  • Day 6 – I decided unkind acts are complaints and count. This became the seed for the global takeaway to stop and think before I speak or do
  • Day 7 – Impatience I learned can be a subtle, silent complaint showing in my facial expression and body language. Patience is the antidote to complaining. How satisfying to purposely wait in silence, knowing others will be served, pleased by my patience.
  • Day 8 – Failing to forgive someone is a 24/7, day-in-day-out Complaint. As my Pop would say occasionally, “Chew on this awhile.
  • Day 9 – Complaining puts me out of contentment and also out of harmony with the target of my dissatisfaction. This day, I wrestled with how much of my complaining has to do with my wanting to be in control. Example, my roofer always seems to block my driveway with his vehicles. Instead of getting frustrated and complaining not an option, I stopped myself to look at this situation another way. How much better it would be if I took my vehicle out of my driveway when I knew the roofer was coming so he could have a convenient place to park his vehicle?
  • Day 10 – I learned by quietly witnessing other’s complaining episodes, obviously unable to “complain” to them about them, that frequent complainers often have high contempt for others.
  • Day 11 – This takeaway got bigger. By quietly listening to other’s complaining, I noticed some have low regard for themselves and seem to use complaining to feel superior to others, one complaint at a time.
  • Day 12 – Living Complaint-Free also means avoiding insisting on my rights, blame, judgment, condemnation, criticism, fault-finding, and gossiping. Even though complaint thinking does not count, I learned that when I am in complaint thinking, my communication shines my bad attitude instead of my light.
  • Day 13 – Respect First can be a substitute for complaining. Consider an incorrect out-of-your-favor monthly bill. Respect First forces you to ask how many times your monthly bill came to you correct. This changed my whole attitude to gratitude so I could rectify the bill graciously in perspective.
  • Day 14 – Building on Day 13, I learned that attitudes of blame, entitlement, anger, frustration, and stressed-out annoyance come through in my voice, even if I am committed to a Complaint Free World Purple Bracelet Challenge. Now, I work on remembering to clear my bad attitude before I speak to anyone about something I would like rectified. My seed for the global takeaway to stop and think before I speak or do grows.
  • Day 15 – Not complaining is contagious. Now that I no longer complain, few complain to me. And, complainers, no longer encouraged, stop their complaining quickly.
  • Day 16 – I can and I will remain Complaint Free Every Day for the Entire 21-Day Challenge no matter the complaining opportunities that present themselves, no matter how important they seem. I can and I will seek the blessings behind, beneath and around each challenge to my resolve. Complaining and switching the bracelet to start over is not an option.
  • Day 17 – I learned during Day 16’s struggle the difference between Complaint Airing & Fact Sharing. I discovered that Fact Sharing means doing what is necessary to solve a problem that must be solved, like a bill error, broken appliance. Fact Sharing intends and does indeed produce good fruits. Fact Sharing, unlike Complaining, holds no negative charge. I discovered annoyance comes out in my tone of voice and/or body language if in a one-on-one conversation, no matter how hard I try to control the language so it does not sound like Complaining. Consider your feelings when you hear “Nothing” with teeth clenched in response to your question “What’s wrong?”
  • Day 18 – No matter how hard I try, I still cannot language a true complaint so it does not sound like I’m complaining. So, I learned to be still or switch the bracelet!
  • Day 19 – Trying harder, I learned that with some thought without a negative charge, I can language something that I would like to change without it sounding like a complaint. This was a really good day.
  • Day 20 – Building on Day 19, I learned how to phrase my opinions with what I like instead of what I dislike, another breakthrough.
  • Day 21 – I learned to watch out for Intellectual Arrogance which fosters complaining, because of believing I know more than others in a situation. Antidote: humility. God created all of us equally and no one is better than or lesser than any other.

Being a Complaint-Free person requires lots of forethought before speaking, Imagine! Thinking before blurting! Before I harness my self-righteous guns, I breathe out blame and breathe in win-win problem-solving! During this Challenge, I gained a mantra, “Peace, be still.”

Wrap-Up Global Takeaways:

  • I cannot change reality, what is, just is, whether I approve or not, so acceptance rules, controlling is complaining.
  • An acceptance attitude allows calm to prevail and negative emotional charges are not granted free rein to rule.
  • By far, the greatest change comes from my ability to calmly meet and greet my challenges, and, Wow! have I had huge ones over these 21 days. My new default attitude stems from What Is Acceptance.

Finish the Complaint Free World 21-Day Complaint Free Challenge and I promise you will have a happier future! People are doing this at work, as families, in groups of friends, and at churches. So, if you are doing this with others, remember, if you call someone else on a complaint, telling them to switch their bracelet, you have to switch yours first, because it counts as a complaint for you.

As the Enlightened Envisions coach, I would be happy to have a complimentary coaching conversation with you to explore the enlightening things you learn about yourself taking the Complaint-Free 21-Day Challenge.

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