What gave me the idea of embarking on this 21 days challenge to quit complaining was the realization that even though I am generally rather positive, I often found myself in frustrating or irritating situations where I would play the victim and…complained.
Many times, I realized that I would go to bed completely exhausted from everything that “happened to me” during the day. Under my so called“good life” I had the lingering impression of constantly fighting… to get the kids to school, get my work done, be on time, manage work and family and all the problems. Too often I went to bed feeling that I just had a terrible day.
Strangely enough, that “ terrible day” day was usually simply a “ normal” day of my life. . Nothing really bad happened. Actually, it was ordinary , like every day… It was what I like to call now my “ not always very sexy life”.
I wanted to learn to enjoy this daily life. I was sick and tired of telling myself that when my three kids would grow up (especially the young one), when my business would be successful, when I would have time for myself, when I would be on vacation, when my family could help me this summer, etc. In short, later, only later, would I be able to live better.
Why wait for tomorrow to finally be happy? It’s a shame after all, because isn’t daily life real life
“Yesterday is gone, tomorrow doesn’t exist…Only today matters most”. I had heard this before, but it wasn’t until then that I decided to put those words into practice.
I am a “mom-preneur” and my days are filled with my business, my three kids attending different schools and all their extracurricular activities (swimming, guitar, piano…), my volunteering activities, my life as a woman, wife and mom…and all of this at more than 6 000 miles from my family in a very fast-paced city!
That’s how one night I found myself in bed, my head on the pillow and eyes wide open, trying to find a way to lighten up my daily life and feel more satisfied right at this moment, no matter how chaotic my life seemed to be.
We all have happy and joyful moments in our lives. Weekends, vacations, birthdays, dinners with friends filled with laughter, dates, weddings, travels…We also have all these little moments like getting a massage, a moment to take care of ourselves. All these moments are times of happiness and fulfillment that break the routine. But we must also realize that these moments are relatively limited and unfortunately conditioned by an external context quite rare, if not exceptional.
So what about the rest of our life? Our daily life is much more ordinary, punctuated with different obligations…When I thought about it, I realized how sad it was to let life pass me by without trying to enjoy all these “normal” hours of my life as if they were something that “happened to me”.
I want happiness every day…because I know that one day or another, I won’t be here anymore. Each minute is like gold. My life is a gift, and I intend on living it at the fullest. I realized that what really got to me were all those moments spent complaining. Doing things while resisting them, getting irritated at the computer, complaining in the car, gossiping with the others, whining about the kids, wheezing and yes even sometimes “bitching” I was not doing anything “ wrong” or truly damaging but in the end it polluted my life and, let’s face it, didn’t get me anywhere.
I am the kind of person who always says how “beautiful life is”, so why complain? I wasn’t depressed, rather in good health, mostly happy and positive, happily married, in love with my kids, I had a great job…But still, no matter what the circumstances, I found a way to complain and to go bed frustrated, exhausted, drained…
“Whether we are feeling happy or unhappy at any given moment often has very little to do with our absolute conditions but, rather it is a function of how we perceive our situation, how satisfied we are with what we have.” – The Dalai Lama
That’s when I told myself: and what if I just stopped complaining? Yes, I know, I wrote “just”, but I now realize after the challenge that it’s not as easy as it seems. The idea for me was to mostly choose between discussing happiness, read a bunch of books and attend seminars on the topic, or to actually start doing something different today to experience happiness. That’s how I decided to start; by not complaining at all for 21 days in a row! I was curious to see what would happen.
I’ve been living in the United States for ten years now, and this type of challenge is pretty common here, to stop smoking, to meditate, loose weight, be grateful…so I told myself that there was no going back, I had to do it until the end for myself, my life, my family. I’ll delve deeper into the “why” of these 21 days in the third part of this book.
When I started my challenge, I had no idea of the actual amount of complaining I was doing (it was a shock!!!), or what I would gain from the experience. This blog is here to share with you what I have learned on this journey. I would love to start a conversation with you in the comment section below.