Thursday, October 1, 2015

No complaining?

Today is October first, and my month long challenge of no complaining has come to an end. So, how did it go?

It went... ok..?

The challenge turned out to be different than I thought. In my mind, the goal was to find out how it would affect me, and my interactions with others, when removing all negative sentiments from my speech. I would be vigilant of what I said and therefore I would be able to notice the impact of complaining and whining.

Right off the bat, I had made the wrong assumption. I assumed I would be able to think before I speak, and that turned out to be false. It was much easier to be aware and mindful when faced with a conflict or when negative emotions were in play, may it be news media or being cut off in traffic. But in regular conversation, about mundane things, it was very difficult to watch every word coming our of my mouth. More often than not, I would realize I said something negative, or agreed with something negative, as I heard myself say it. And I'm absolutely certain a lot fell off the radar all together.

It was interesting to me, that I, personally, had a much more difficult time adjusting my habitual speech, than to adjust my expression of strong negative emotions/sensations. It was much easier to not complain about physical pain than to keep myself from complaining about the weather.

The biggest fail of the month happened early on, and it was the biggest fail because I was fully aware and I actively chose to complain/whine/bitch. My husband and I had planned a visit to a tannery in Santa Cruz, to buy leather for some craft projects. We decided to start the day with a few hours of hiking, then find a cute place to eat lunch, followed by shopping. The hike in Big Basin was great, but by the time we sat down for lunch, I was ravenous. A ravenous woman, waiting for food, in a small café in Santa Cruz could only end one way.

After expressing myself through some very negative body language, I turned to my husband and declared that I didn't care how I promised I wouldn't complain, I'm totally gonna. "How difficult can it be to make a panini? I know it's Santa Cruz, but come on! How do they survive as a business, they are sooooo slow! Look, they are just chatting amongst themselves and not even caring about their paying customers! Chipotle is down the street and we would've been fed by now!"

Eventually, I did get my food. It was delicious. Instant happy camper. Also, I was happy we chose to support a small local business. And I apologized to my husband, and the universe, for not having more patience.

One subject stood out, as a repeated source of whining. The weather. We've had a very warm month. We don't have AC, my allergies prevents us from leaving our windows open at night, and we've had quite a few days in the upper 90s (35C+). Sleeping was a struggle. I was better at not complaining about the heat itself, but I did a horrible job at not whining about being tired.

Moving forward, I will keep on trying to minimize unnecessary negativity. I will practice thinking before speaking. I will remind myself that whining will not change the weather, or make cheese melt faster. As long as I keep myself fed and well-rested, I believe I'm up for the challenge.