One Year of Gratitude—Day 105

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A couple of days ago I mentioned a book I am reading. The book is “A Complaint Free World” by Will Bowen. The author assumes the reader will accept the challenge of living complaint free for twenty-one days. I am giving it a shot. It is tough.

It is incredible to hear what comes out of your mouth. Things that feel like normal conversation are many times nothing more than complaints. Passing statements like “I wish it were sunny today” seem benign. But, guess what? It is a complaint in disguise. I have become overwhelmed with the things I let fly out of my mouth as part of a routine conversation. I have been surprised by the ideas coming from other people’s mouths, too.

The big challenge came yesterday. I was talking with a friend. We were discussing a mutual acquaintance. My friend mentioned a gripe about our third friend. I found it impossible to avoid complaining as we continued the conversation. Before I knew it, various criticisms escaped my mouth. Triangulation ensued. I tried hard to avoid saying negative things. The urge to complain was too high. It felt like an addiction that needed to be satisfied.

So, I have my work cut out for me. The twenty-one-days of “complaint-free-living” may be my biggest challenge to date. If I complain today, I go back to day-one tomorrow. Yes, I am on my third or fourth day of “day-one.”

As part of the challenge, I am required to wear a reminder bracelet. Every time I complain, I am to move the bracelet from one wrist to the other. My daughter made a “complaint” bracelet for me. She is keeping tabs on the situation, too. Yesterday, she noticed every time the bracelet was on the other hand. “Dad, you moved your bracelet. What did you complain about?”

I am grateful for the self-awareness this is creating. Holy moly! Honestly, I had no idea. If you have never tried this exercise, I recommend giving it a shot. Listen to the things you say. Are you complaining as much as I am? I am willing to bet that you are. The act of complaining is very, very common. We are just used to it. It is part of our lives and makes up a good bit of our regular conversation. Take a listen to the others around you. You may be as surprised in what you hear as I have been.

And that is your gratitude for today.

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