As I sat there quietly complaining to myself about my chipped nail polish, the rain and the fact I had to wait 45 minutes past a scheduled appointment that morning my eye got caught on an article about *insert drumroll* complaining. More specifically: about a project that entails not complaining for a month called Complaint Restraint.
A whole month.
Eager to find out what this project was and how to participate I was quickly disappointed to see this project ran last month. What a shame. But then again, what is stopping me from trying it by myself? Or with you?
You see, I am the goddess of complaints. According to SOH at least. I usually shrug it off as the stereotypical “But you don’t get it, this is just me VENTING! You do not need to reply or come up with solutions to my complaints.”. But maybe I ‘vent’ just a little bit too much. Possibly.
A little awareness goes a long way so even if this thing will not cure me of complaining, maybe it will make me more aware of how bad it actually is. So how to go about it? I have taken the liberty to outline the ground rules of this project in my own words.
1 Start by defining what a complaint actually is
If you point out that it is raining, is that a complaint? Apparently not as that is just an observation. A proper complaint however would be ‘It rains again and I hate it!’.
2 How often do you complain and what about?
Change starts with awareness. So start counting. I did for half a day and it was a real shocker.
3 Do not mingle with other (chronic) complainers
Complaining is at the heart of Dutch culture (do not argue with me on this, you know it is true) so this is actually a rather harsh one. Are you prepared to decimate your inner circle? I am not.
But perhaps it is not necessary because you can always try this: respond with something positive rather than joining in on the complaining of your friends. It might very well lift their spirits and get them to see things in a more positive light. If that does not work do keep up being positive to their negative mood. They will get bored in the end and start to look for someone else to complain to.
4 Turn a complaint into a solution
This is called ‘positive complaining’. Of course, if the complaint involves something you have no control over, such as having to wait longer than expected in a waiting room, nothing can be done. But a complaint like ‘I have nothing to wear.’ can be easily fixed.
5 Use the ‘but-positive’ technique
If you do catch yourself complaining, add a ‘but’ and something positive. In the case of that chipped nail polish ‘…but that gives me a good reason to remove all of it and pick out a nice new colour.’
6 Change ‘have to’ into ‘get to’
How many times a day do you start a sentence with ‘I have to…’ followed by some sort of task? I bet many times. I know I do, my life basically revolves around day-to-day chores concerning the children for example. So instead of saying ‘I have to get child A to place B via location C.’ I try my best to focus on the fact this is actually something I GET to do, a privilege.
So how about it? Are you game? Let me know in the comments!
For the original article click here