How I Cut Out Complaining

“If you don’t have anything nice to say…come sit next to me.”

            - Alice Roosevelt Longworth


Well. No one is going to want to sit next to me because I’m on a NO COMPLAINING DIET. That’s right. I’ve cut out complaining like a bad carb. 


Kara Lowentheil (@karalowentheil) of ‘Unfuck Your Brain’ podcast put the idea in my head. I have, of course, tried not complaining at one point or another in my life, but Kara took the notion to the next level (as she is wont to do).  


She advises:


No Complaining to People: “Okay. I can do this. I’ll find other things to talk about. Even if I have a couple people in my life that complaining is my go to mode of communication, I’ll find another topic. I am strong.” 


No Complaining in my Journal: “What? Shit just got real. I’m used to venting in my journal about everything that’s not working, and all the people who are bugging me. The prospect of not complaining in my journal makes me panicky; and makes me realize how much I’m complaining in the first place.”


No Complaining in my Thoughts: “So what the hell am I going to think about? Positive shit?” 


I needed help. 


LaTonya Wilkins (@latonyacoaching) came to the rescue: 


“Venting can make things worse. It seems intuitive that unloading something makes you feel better. While you may temporarily get some relief, venting can have damaging effects in the longer-term. It crushes your commitment and belief that you have the ability to change the situation. 


Instead of venting, try a different approach. Acknowledge that you are unhappy with the situation then spend time reflecting. Think about what you can proactively do next. Your confidence and hope to create something different will increase over the long run.”


This clicked in. I will redirect my brain (it needs something to do what with all the extra time it has on its hands) to reflect, decide what to proactively do next, and create something different in my life. 


But I also need something to write in my journal. I have kept a journal for 32 years (I have the bins in the basement to prove it) and I’m not stopping now. 


Susan Hyatt’s (@susanhyatt) ‘Summer of Yes’ course gave me an idea. She challenges us to ask: What Feels Like Love? What feels like love in what I eat, how I move my body, and the decisions I make for my business and life. What feels like love also includes: Speaking up when I usually stay quiet, saying “no” when people expect me to say “yes”, and sticking to a boundary that protects my time and energy.


I decided to use this concept in my journal. At the end of the day when I peel it open, I ask myself: What felt like love today? And I retrace my steps to notice these moments:


            Buying fresh peas from the market to share with my family by the pool.


            Seeing Lucy come down the escalator at the airport after ten days away from home.


            My new comfy slides with the pale gold pineapples. 


Focusing my mind on these moments floods me with gratitude and wakes me up to the beauty and magic of my life. 


I’m not perfect by any stretch. My brain flits to the negative all the time (just like any other human brain) but I pay it less attention.


Try writing your own list and let me know how it goes. 

Then come sit next to me. What feels like love?