Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

A Complaint-Free World (an excerpt)

In all fairness to Will Bowen, I really should include an excerpt of his book, “A Complaint-Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted.”

If you don’t like something, change it.
If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
Don’t complain.
–Maya Angelou

In your hands you hold the secret to transforming your life. Big words? Yes, but I’ve seen it work for many, many people. I’ve read their e-mails and letters and taken their phone calls. People have used the simple concept of putting a purple silicone bracelet on their wrist and then switching from wrist to wrist until they have managed to go 21 consecutive days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping. In so doing, they have formed a new habit. By becoming conscious of and, thereby, changing their words, they have changed their thoughts and begun to create their lives by design. People just like you have shared stories with me of chronic pain relieved, relationships healed, careers improved, and having become an overall happier person. ….
It’s no accident that you have picked up this book [Will, your book arrived at my door via UPS. I wouldn’t have picked it up]. You have answered your soul’s call to stop being part of the problem and to become part of the solution. You can change the world by simply becoming an example of positive change. You can bear the torch for a bright future for our children by taking this challenge and staying with it, however long it takes, until you succeed. You can be a healing cell in the body of humanity.

  • Larry Parker

    Such pie-in-the-sky sentiments set you up to be like a zebra — full of sunny, optimistic, positive thoughts, ready to charge across the river to your destiny.
    But sunny, optimistic, positive thoughts without wariness and (yes) negative thoughts about potential predators won’t keep you from being eaten by a crocodile.
    Some freakin’ destiny.

  • Babs

    Gag. Though the idea of finding something to do rather than spreading gossip is quite appealing.

  • Nancy

    Basically what Maya Angelou is speaking of is the process of “Acceptance”. I take exception, not that Ms. Angelou would care, to the last statement. Don’t complain. Okay – if that means to go on and on to every person that crosses our path and reiterate the same sorry story with no willingness to let it go, I get that. However, for me the acceptance and letting go of a situation I have absolutely no control over, can’t change, have to accept (or choose to be misererable – no thank you)is a process. Sometimes the process is 5 minutes, other time 5 day or 5 weeks, which includes talking about (not whining – well maybe, and sometimes even through tears). It depends upon the magnitude of what has occured. When I speak of what has happened with certain “healthier” people in my life (that took some learning too), is what consistutes the beginning of purging and ultimately, letting go of what I cannot change.
    The Serenity Prayer. At times it’s instantaneous; however, not everything is a quick fix. My old M.O. would be to pretend and stuff it; not complain, but let whatever happened (hurts real or perceived) take root in my being and make a home. Internalize the anger and beat myself up for whatever I felt. People pleasing was a big aspect of my life. This went on until their was no more room within, and I had to keep my insides quiet with alcohol, spiral deeper into depression and keep it all inside or perhaps release it on unsuspecting soul who had nothing to do with the situation at hand.
    I do believe in living in the solution, not the problem. An old cliche I heard so many years ago at AA meetings. The concept is not a new one just because this person wrote a book and came up with purple bracelets. It reminds me of “The Secret”. There was no secret in it. I had a difficult time with some of the pontificating that went on when Oprah interviewed the contributors to that work, but again, had to let it go. That was after my husband listened to my conversation on it – I guess it’s not really a conversation though when I just wanted him to listen so that I could get it out of my system.
    I’ve found for me, that’s how it works. It comes down again to cognitive behavior therapy, and also reframing thoughts. As long as I don’t shoot from the hip and react impulsively, I’ve got a fairly good chance of living in the solution. Never perfectly – it’s all about progress and desire to be a beacon of light rather than adding to the darkness. Not an easy task at times.
    Another great post, Therese!!

  • Frank

    We are creatures of habit aren’t we? I am. Anything I can do to break out of the rut/mold/routine/habit and stop my knee jerk response to stimuli is great! I think that we stay with habits that do us a disservice because of a false premise. We get stuck in this rut because we think that if we hang in there long enough we’ll begin to see results from our complaints. Then we start enjoying the way it stirs the pot – doesn’t improve the flavor just keeps everyone stirred up. And we may be thinking, ‘If I’m not happy, nobody is gonna be happy.’ Or maybe we’re just too lazy to climbe out of the rut. I am unsure as the the why. But what I can perceive intellectually and intuitively is that changing my habits is changing my attitude. In an airplane the attitude determines the flight. And the same thing happens to us. If were using a good compass and maintaining good balance the result will be good too. Do we need to be aware of the alligators in life and avoid them? Of course. But having a positive outlook/attitude doesn’t mean that we’ve put on blinders to reality.
    It just means that we have an expectation of good – and that’s a fine place to be.

  • kre8happiness

    Complaining about a situation is NOT the same as “processing” a situation. The concept is to LET GO of Complaining so that the solutions can be implemented. Try it and you will be amazed at how much negativity to carry/spew into your world.
    I have been dubbed “Pollyanna” numerous times in my life…yet when put to the test of letting go of my negative comments and actions (with the Complaint Free World concept), I found myself to be far from the blonde-haired-blue-eyed-there-is-always-a-brigther-side-to-life-little-girl I had so often been accused of being.
    Before “complaining” about or ridiculing the concept, try it and see what it does for your perspective. 21 days is a long long long time.

  • kre8happiness

    “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. – Anais Nin

  • Shechaiyah

    There’s a time to be silent, and there’s a time to speak up.
    Silence is complicity.
    Torture. Illegal wars. Staged terrorism. Population Reduction policies. Influence-peddling and corruption.
    If you don’t complain now, when are you going to complain?
    Emily Cragg

  • Thomas G Underwood

    I’ll make this simple; If you need to wear something to make you change you attatude, then you are not spending enough time reading the Bible. If you will study the Word of God, and live what you learn, your outlook on life will change. The scriptures (three) that deals with this subject can be found in Philippians and Hebrews. I will put them in order Philippians 4:9; Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. 4:11; Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Hebrews 13:5-6; Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

  • Shechaiyah

    Rattling off quotations from an old Book is not going to help, in this Forum.
    Save it for when you’re preaching to the choir.
    I notice you evangelical Christians don’t have anything to say about genocide, torture, or the issues of the day. You want to waste the planet so you can force God to intervene. “Beam me up, Jesus!” is a crazy statement, you know?
    That does not speak well for you.

  • Lee Ann

    GAG? why would you put something down that you haven’t tried?

  • Trisha

    Whenever someone says….don’t complain. I feel that they don’t want to deal with anything, and want to go through life with rose-colored glasses. They leave the nurturing to those of us that “do” complain…and try to listen & help those individuals that have “genuine” complaints to have to deal with. Telling someone not to “complain”….is like telling them to bottle up every emotion they have inside, and when it’s a feeling that’s overwhelming to them….go seek a therapist, and pay out more money (if they don’t have enough to begin with)….and when the debts pile up….they’ll have more to complain about. But…the “selfish, self-centered…don’t bother me with your problems” people in this world won’t have to give any of their time or energy to helping them. Why doesn’t society learn how to “complain” about the selfish ones that can’t open their hearts and minds to those that need a helping hand, and an ear to listen and try to understand why they’re complaining in the first place. If society had that “attitude”….maybe this world wouldn’t have so much for people to complain about!! Bible or not….”treat others as you would have them treat you”!!

  • nikki

    I can’t be silent for 21 days of complaint free. I have to speak up my mind with alot of things on my mental list. For once, I feel that if you don’t speak up for yourself, people will think it is ok to use or abuse this person. Once, I was letting people of taking advances for me a t anytime. I have tattooed invisible “idiot” on my forehead. Thus, I started to develop panic attacks from those people. Now, I can talk freely anything that comes from my mind. I will always have a lot issues and complaints about anything. I feel so happy to be outspoken now.

  • Larry Parker

    The direction the discussion took reminds me of a post I made recently on the Mental Health Forum on the Bnet discussion boards:
    “Try to be more ASSERTIVE about your needs with people in a positive and proactive way on the front end, to prevent [negative] feelings from building up. In one of those paradoxes of life, if you stand up for yourself, you may actually avoid a negative confrontation; if you are passive and say “Whatever,” you may ultimately bring one on.
    It took me a LONG time to learn this (I still am …).”

  • Bob

    I heard @ a seminar that if you complain you actually poison yourself; your focus and attention is on negativity, and that is what you’ll seek and find….

  • Karen

    If I didn’t complain for 21 days, my house would be a mess and my household would go wild, husband would drink his life away and my kids would be on the loose, my job would drive me crazy!! I couldn’t see if I held it all in for 21 days I would go insane or end up in a hospital.

  • ann

    i am the one that usually keeps the peace but even i need a break and when i speak my mind and need help, everyone freaks out and does not know what to do. people verbally abuse me and that is okay to do but when i speak out, i am always the one in the wrong. we have had a very bad year and need financial help. i have been seeking it every way i can but it never seems to be enough. it is like trying to put a band aid on an avalanche. i need some smiles in my life – i have had enough of the gray skies. life is never easy i know but at times mine seems worse than every sad movie ever written.

  • PHIL

    Before I complain to anyone ,I think to myself” there has to be someone out there that is worse off than me ” which makes my complaint so trivial…. it works every time …..

  • lady of light

    Tom I agree with most of what you said, but a bracelet reminder to heighten awareness doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t reading the bible enough. It means that you are acknowledging your vulnerability to the temptation of complaining as “All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.” I believe that increasing our awareness and looking to the Lord for change through confession, repentence and faith is what results in respoonding to the Word. But, you are correct in saying that if we put our time and energy into refreshing and renewing our minds and spirits through the Word, complaining (or at least, chronic complaining) should not be a major issue in our life.
    I also agree with the reader who quoted Philipians regarding the apostle Paul’s exhortation to “be content in all situations”.
    To the person who doesn’t understand Evangelical Christians, try just to experience reading the truth of God’s Word, not thinking about people who you may not understand or agree with, but about God and His truth.
    I hope that all receive a blessing as I have from reading Therese’s insightful blogs and her down to earth sharing with us. Thanks, Therese for being real and reaching out to us once again!

  • Jenni

    There are other ways to get things straight without complaining – My mom complains about everything and things get done quicker when she chills out a little. I think it’s awesome that people are trying to make known how much an impact complaining has. Complaining really gets nothing done but make people aggravated. Karen, your life wouldn’t go crazy, consider other ways of handling the things around the house. Be calm about what goes on in your life – I know it’s probably difficult, but try it – you and the other people in the household will probably be in such a better mood and you guys will probably get along so much better :) It works for me – I have yet to get in an argument with my fiancee – we never complain about things, and if a conflict arises, we get through it with a smile on our face and offer a hand, and everybody’s always so much happier!

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