Not To Complain (part 2)


Not-Complain, Part 2

Before I send each newsletter, I wonder, “Will they like this one?”
I also often wonder about the staggering number of people who are certain they have just written a hit song.
Last week’s newsletter –NOT TO COMPLAINThe 21-Day No Complaint Challenge–climbed the charts. So, this week I wanted to follow-up about minimizing complaints:

Gratitude Practice =
Thankfulness – Complaints



“Really? And you are sending this to me and the Jewish people? It’s good, but I prefer to be a whiner,” was the response from Robin.
I received a delightful number of “I’m going to give this a go” emails. Some more hesitant than others.
My favorite semi-committal note was from Susan. She emailed me – thinking she was forwarding a message to Geoff – “Geoff, Let’s try it?” I responded she might be hedging her commitment by phrasing it as a question. And I pointed out that perhaps she was subconsciously sending it to the wrong person.
Although, I also wondered, like a good rabbi, that perhaps she sent it to the right person.
I also loved what Valerie wrote:

First day (yesterday) was an unbelievable challenge, arranged by the Universe to see if I was serious. I had failed seven times (miserably) by noon.
But this is so much more fun than just getting old and dying.

What actual complaint?

Mike wrote:

Thanks for your email ?
I feel doomed to fail, but I’m going to give the no-complaint challenge a try.
I’d even call it a victory if I could go a single day with no complaints!
On a technical note, what actually qualifies as a complaint? Can I be critical? For example, any discussion about the environment or politics in these dark times.

I wrote:

What makes a complaint a complaint? Like I know?

There are grey areas, certainly. And I’m no expert.
Let’s try this:
* If you think it was a complaint, it was a complaint
* If you don’t think it was a complaint, it wasn’t a complain
* If you aren’t sure, it wasn’t. (I’m an easy grader.)
I’d say blatant complaints only. “Can you even believe what that ass, Jake, even did?” is going to be a complaint.
“That soup was too hot.” I don’t know. I might not count it. Probably not. I’m a big advocate of minimizing self-chastisement and encouraging students to grow.
As long as I am watching for complaints, we have progress.
As long as I consider whether saying the soup was too hot is was a complaint, I’m making progress over where I was yesterday.
You got this. Do it.


Susan wrote:

Well this plan on gratitude without complaining is quite challenging. Thank you
Haven’t done so well yet.

I wrote:

You are doing it SOOO much better today than you were two days ago, no?
I consider that great, nay amazing progress.
Keep it up.


Safe Space?

Mary wrote:

You mention, “Complaints in your head don’t reset the clock. Only ones you do aloud count. (You aren’t a Jedi, you can’t control your thoughts.)”
How about visits to the therapist where honesty and the ability to gripe to a professional in lieu of griping to family and friends and colleagues, do “complaints” there reset the clock?

I wrote:

You mistake the rules as being fixed.
People think that “the rules of religion” mean that we have to NEVER, ever do something. One slip up and you are out of the club. That’s just not true.
If you want to give yourself a break from the abstinence of complaining for an hour a week, do it! I am a vegetarian. Except for prosciutto. And other times when I make an exception.
TBH, I don’t know which details of this exercise make it work.
My hunch is that it follows the thinking of Fritz Perls: “Awareness per se of and by itself can be curative.
Just by making the commitment and then conscious effort towards eliminating complaints will cause movement towards that change. Taking an hour off a week shouldn’t make too much of a difference.

With love,

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