For the past few months I've been wearing this mala as a reminder to stop complaining. I got the idea from this podcast. The no-complaining challenge started with a Kansas City minister who was teaching about how our words determine our thoughts and how our thoughts determine our words, which is very much in line with the yogic teaching of matrika.
Matrika is literally translated as "little mothers" and refers to the power of the letters or sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet. Our words literally give birth to our reality (little mothers).
The challenge sparked my interest because I can be critical, judgemental and complain as much as the next person. I'm also aware of how deeply we're impacted by our thoughts. While we might have little power over the thoughts that pop into our head, our words, on the hand, can be easier to control. And in controlling what comes out of our mouth, we start to shift what comes into our mind.
Here are some compelling reasons to stop complaining.
Be more optimistic. Complaining is essentially the opposite of practicing gratitude – instead of focusing on what we appreciate, we focus on what we don't want. And what we focus on expands. Also, if you don’t appreciate what you have, you won't appreciate what you get. (and you'll never be satisfied)
Be more mindful. By being conscious of our words, we become more mindful. By being more mindful, we act more ethically. We choose our words and our responses more carefully, more compassionately and more sensitively. By living more consciously you'll make better decisions and treat others with more kindness.
Be more empowered. Our complaints are often a rehashing of the past which is positioning ourselves as a victim of our circumstance. The moment you stop complaining, you take responsibility. The more you take responsibility, the more you own your actions and your results.
Be more creative. Criticism is the biggest enemy to our creativity. When we're criticized we hold back more and second-guess ourselves, and in essence stifle our creativity. Chances are if you tend to be critical of those around you (I'm guilty), you're probably most critical of yourself. Your self-judgment will hold you back from making a meaningful offering of your work in the world. Steven Pressfield eloquently states:
“If you find yourself criticizing other people, you’re probably doing it out of Resistance. When we see others beginning to live their authentic lives, it drives us crazy if we have not lived out our own. Individuals who are realized in their own lives almost never criticize others. If they speak at all, it is to offer encouragement. Watch yourself. Of all the manifestations of Resistance, most only harm ourselves. Criticism and cruelty harm others as well.” - War of Art
When we change our words, we change our thoughts. And when we change our thoughts, we change our lives.
Do you want to join me in the no-complaining challenge?
How to play: Wear a bracelet, mala or rubber band as a reminder to stop complaining. When you catch yourself complaining, switch it to the other wrist. Continue until you break the habit. Let me know how it goes!