The language you choose to use will either put you on the path of creating the life you want, or it will feed what you don’t want. One way of speaking reinforces a victim mentality the other way strengthens your true essence as a Creator, the central role in TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)®.
The challenge is that in today’s fast-paced world it is easy to go unconscious to how you speak. Learning to be impeccable with your words will help you stay in an empowered relationship with yourself and others.
This week we offer a game we call “no complaining for 24 hours.” When you complain about others, circumstances — or direct complaints toward yourself — it is a sign you may have slipped into the Victim role of the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT). Why? Because complaints signal that you feel powerless about a situation or another person. It might sound like: “Why can’t they do it right? “OMG, it is raining again!” or “I just have too much to do and not enough time.”
Living a life through the lens of complaining can range from mild (complain occasionally) to actually being addicted to complaining and constantly complaining about everything. You may not realize how much you complain until you stop and notice, which is what this game is about.
Complaining can have a positive side if you stop and notice what you care about that has got you complaining. We often say there is a “commitment behind your complaint.” By noticing your complaints, you can get closer to what you care about.
Our challenge to you is to become a perceptive observer of the words you use. By not complaining for 24 hours, you will force yourself to pause and listen to your speech patterns. Please have fun with this “homework” and trust the process and learning. Here’s how the game works:
In the next week, designate one day and declare it your “no complaints day.” Commit to stop all complaining for 24 hours. When you wake-up on the morning of your no complaints day, remind yourself you will pay extra attention to your speech in every situation. If you catch yourself in a complaint, notice and pause, then redirect your comments toward what you care about, or say nothing.
Make notes throughout the day and record even the slightest tendency to complain (even if it is only in the privacy of your own mind). At the end of the day, reflect on how often you were tempted to wallow in what you didn’t like. Notice the situation and reflect on your patterns.
- What circumstances tempted you to complain?
- How did you feel when you redirected your comments or thoughts from complaining to something more positive?
- When you caught yourself complaining, was there something deeper you cared about that put you into a complaint mode?
- What communication habits did you notice that you hadn’t noticed before?
Try to stop complaining for one day. If you are only an occasional complainer, you will be able to stop for the day. If you are addicted to complaining, it will sneak back into your speech and thought patterns. Hopefully this game will support you in waking up to times you feel powerless and victimized by a situation. Then you have the opportunity to choose your response to the situation.
At the end of the day, congratulate yourself for becoming more aware of your unconscious habits of speech. The words you speak create your life. You have a choice to use drama-complaint-filled words or words of creativity and empowerment. Which do you choose?