No Complaining Update: Shackles On, Shackles Off
Yes, I committed to a No Complaining week. Yes, so far I am exerting tremendous effort and sticking to it, and I’m already seeing some significant differences. Martha Beck in her book Steering by Starlight says you should use the “shackles on, shackles off” approach in life. If something makes your chest tight and stresses you out (shackles on), stop doing it. If something makes you feel lighter and happier(shackles off), keep doing it. Well, complaining is “shackles on.”
Here’s what I’ve discovered so far:
- I feel better if every time I want to complain, I instead state something for which I am grateful. It works. While complaining made my chest tight and gave me a headache (shackles on), gratitude makes me sigh and smile. It’s good for my soul (shackles off).
- The last time I was in Walmart, rather than hating the woman in front of me who was writing a check instead of using a debit card, I decided to really look at her situation. She was elderly, had just a few groceries, and was panicked about moving slow. She looked at me and I smiled rather than glaring. She looked relieved. I felt better (shackles off).
- The coolest things happen when I’m not complaining. For example, the phones at my office were dead for two days (shackles on). I spent two days complaining about my Comcast man and conjuring up incredible anger. Then I stopped complaining. I came in Sunday, with still no visit from the Comcast man, but a great new attitude. I smiled at my phone. I picked it up. I had a dial tone (cue “Twilight Zone” music, and shackles off!).
- Gratitude generates energy. The good kind of energy. I realized that all of my complaining had caused me to really dislike myself. I would have hung around somebody else if I could have. Gratitude gives me energy. Suddenly I’m exercising and eating right (shackles off). Most of the time. Tootsie rolls don’t count.
- People who are cynical do not like a “No Complaining” approach. I’ve received complaints about this idea for three days from good friends that are afraid I’m going to become boring. I’m not going to be boring, just happier (shackles off).
- You really do get what you look for – and that is no exaggeration. I was waking up in a beautiful home complaining about mold (we live in some wetlands – not a good idea if you have mold allergies). I started out my day by talking about how my face hurt and my head hurt. I got to work already irritated. Yesterday I woke up grateful for the beautiful birds outside my window and the acreage of gorgeous hard wood trees. My head didn’t hurt as much, and a cardinal perched itself on the roof of my car before I left for work. I looked for the beauty, and I found it (shackles off).
Please join me in this week of No Complaining, and let me know how your week is going via Twitter http://twitter.com/#home using #NoComplaining hashtag), LinkedIn (DonnaSHighfill) or Facebook (Donna Highfill).
Look forward to hearing from you!!