Challenge: No Complaints for One Week. Are you in?

Via on Dec 15, 2008

Jason Finch’s recent blog post reminded me of a challenge I like to try on from time to time–No complaints for one week. Local Buddhist psychotherpist Bruce Tift is a big fan of this as a meditation practice.

Last time I committed to no complaints for a week I threw out my back on day one and had to cancel a trip to see my brother and my two little nieces. As the week wore on, so did my opportunities to complain. It was fascinating to see how my mind worked with every little detail from standing in line at Whole Paycheck to the onslaught of little thoughts throughout the day.

So, starting today, Monday, I’m going to commit to another week of zero complaints. If and when I do complain, I’ll just own it with a friend and carry on.

Since we have a lot to complain about in the global situation and we fill vilified and justified for our grievances, see what it is like to “let go” for a week or a day and notice what happens around you. Thoughts count and to notice your negative mind stream is the practice.

This practice has been made popular by Pastor Will Bowen of the Christ Church Unity in Kansas City, Misourri. He founded a Complaint Free World. So far, their group has given out over 5,000,000 braclets to folks who can commit to living a complaint free life.

One caution: This does not mean you need to walk around pretending their is no suffering in the world and bypassing the enormity of Life. It also does not mean you have to try to act happy or be upbeat. Be genuine. And be honest with yourself.

Like the 4 noble truths in Buddhism, it is about not getting “hooked” by the suffering around us.   This is very much a meditation practice. The whole point here is to just notice how you are, without judgment. So, when you observe how much you complain, don’t judge that, just take note and listen.

So, what will you do? If a week sounds too daunting, go for a day and see what happens!

Check out the video.

About Jayson Gaddis

Jayson Gaddis, is a relationship specialist using the vehicle of his marriage and kids to wake up and live an empowered life. He’s on the planet to help people learn and master intimacy and relationship. He’s a husband and part-time stay-at-home Dad getting schooled by his two cosmic kids. Jayson is the host of Empowering Relationships TV and writes his own highly personal blog, and has also written for Integral Life, The Jungle of Life, Primer Magazine, Recovering Yogi, The Good Men Project. You can find him here: Jayson Gaddis or Fulfilling Marriage.

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13 Responses to “Challenge: No Complaints for One Week. Are you in?”

  1. Joana Smith Joana Smith says:

    I’ll do it, yeah!
    Don’t be the rule, be the exception!

  2. Henry Schliff Henry Schliff says:

    Nice idea. I’ll give it a shot!

  3. Ariana Saraha says:

    Beautiful! I’m in.

  4. elephant journal admin says:

    But what about intelligent criticism? Prajna? One thing I’ve never liked about my Buddhist community is how everyone would just say ‘meditate more’ if anyone complained about anything.

  5. Jayson Gaddis Jayson says:

    In response to the “intelligent criticism?” question: You bring up a key distinction between discrimination and judgmentalism. Complaining is like judging. And, most of us judge.

    For example, if I am hungry, I might just say that. But what is my intention? Do I want something from someone by saying that I”m hungry? Or, am I just stating it to remind myself that I need food in order to move throughout my day?

    If some friend just says “meditate more” to one of your grievances, that doesn’t go far enough. Your complaint may be very valid and serious and a “spiritual tip” can be insulting.

    Instead of just giving you advice, they might explore what is underneath your complaint and what is it like to be with the experience surrounding your complaint.

    And, for me, HOW you complain to me will be what I pay attention to.

  6. [...] Monday I vowed to not complain for a week. As a meditator, I usually feel that this practice will be a piece of cake. I know how to quiet my [...]

  7. elephant journal admin says:

    Dude, you’re on track to make one of top of the month with this post–just need 500 views & 10 comments. This one counts!

  8. Jason says:

    nice work

  9. Joana Smith Joana Smith says:

    When I told my husband at the beginning of this week that I was going to do this he was like, “Allriight!” But it is really hard! I find myself making the promise all over again everytime I complain! This week of no complaints might turn out to be neverending!

  10. Jayson Gaddis Jayson Gaddis says:

    Joanna, no problem. the fact that you are paying attention is the point. nice job!

  11. [...] Monday I vowed to not complain for a week. As a meditator, I usually feel that this practice will be a piece of cake. I know how to quiet my [...]

  12. Nadine McNeil Nadine says:

    Timely that I’d be reading this today as just before bumping into this piece, I thought about this. Given that I’m about to go into a week of elmination — no coffee, no wine, no chocolate — it demands that I go inward and breathe deeply. I will have to find other outlets for handling my stress! More yoga, More yoga! Bring it on! OM….

  13. ChinaRoyale says:

    What a grande idea!!! Absolutely novel….thanks for the suggestion and I am going to start immediately.

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