I have been working on and off on a Do Not Complain project since April 7, 2008. Just what is a Do Not Complain project and how does it work?
First, let’s talk about the word complain. I’ve had long discussions about this with friends from various countries and it’s clear that different countries interpret the word differently. Some people feel strongly that complaining is about voicing a problem clearly and is a positive, good thing. But for many people, the word “complain” has a tinge of the word “whine” in it. There is a difference between constructively offering an objective review of a situation, in order to remedy it, and complaining in a venting / whining / wheedling manner.
The point of the Do Not Complain project is NOT to become a doormat. It is NOT so people take advantage of you and abuse you. A person in this project still should calmly and rationally speak up if a waitress brings you the wrong dish, for example. Or if a partner leaves the toilet seat up for the fifteenth time this week. The aim, though, is to look at the situation with compassion. To realize all we are grateful for. To acknowledge that this is a minor blip in the cosmic wave of life, and that it can be addressed with equanimity and calm. It can be raised without rancor.
Here is the thread where the Do Not Complain quest began in my own life. It is in the Buddhism forum at BellaOnline.
It went on with the forum posts, on and off, since then. Over time I have definitely learned a lot about myself and about what triggers me. I am still human – I still have times when I get cranky / tired / upset and complain. I am more aware of it now, though.
It’s a good idea to regularly re-focus on a do not complain project. Not because getting to 30 days is a victory, but because the daily mindfulness is incredibly helpful toward living a gentler, kinder life.
I’ll aim to post in this blog and in the forums as I re-focus myself on this quest. Come join me! Post along in comments and responses. Together we can all add strength and compassion to this world we live in.