Day 20: Don’t Complain At All

I decided to carry over my challenge from day 19, Don’t Complain About My Tooth Ache. But for day 20, I won’t be complain about anything.

Complaining, Dashiell Bark-Huss
My Complaining Face

Refocusing Attention

I got off to a bad start. My tooth infection disrupted my sleep all night. As soon as I woke up, I went to the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and with a mouth full of swollen gums the first words I spoke were, “My mouth is shit.”

As I stood in the bathroom pitying my mouth, my cat circled my ankles, incessantly meowing. So I told her to shut up. When she kept meowing I said, “Don’t you understand what shut up means?”

Only then did I remember the no complaining rule.

But I was able to turn the day around.

The infection worsened since the day before. The pain increased. I couldn’t open my mouth all the way. Swallowing hurt. All day, I fantasized about taking a hammer and crushing my wisdom tooth.

Yet, as I fell pray to negativity, I kept reigning myself back. I remembered not to give my pain any more energy than it was already taking from me.

I played with my focus. If I focused on a different part of my body, I couldn’t even feel the infection. At least until I swallowed, which brought my attention back to the infection. But only momentarily.

Switching My Attitude On Command

At dinner, a change in plans further tested my patience.

Normally, on Fridays, we have Shabbat dinner at my parents’ house.

Last minute, my parents said we should meet them at the hospital for Shabbat dinner.

I have a very strict diet and hadn’t prepared anything to eat. I needed to shower pretty badly. And I hate changes in plans! So my first response was no.

It was hard not to complain about the lack of communication. But I held my words back and took their perspective.

After getting off the phone, I rethought my reasons for not coming. Were my reasons just excuses and complaints? I wasn’t flat out complaining, but I had a no-can-do attitude. If I change my attitude, could I make this work? With no car and no food?

So I decided to call an Uber, stop on the way to Whole Foods, and put together something ready-to-eat that fits my diet.

This was uncomfortable for me. Frugality and preparedness are values I care deeply about. Buying pre-made food and taking two Ubers is far from frugal. But I also value spending time with my family, especially during difficult times.

Shabbat dinner was a mess. My parents didn’t realize the cafeteria would be closed. Luckily there was a Farm Fresh vending machine so they were able to eat. My cousins ate the raisin challah that we brought for the blessings.

Normally I would get frustrated with how unorganized the ordeal was. But I didn’t focus on that.

It was actually really fun!

The chaos led to some hilarious outcomes. We had no kippahs (Jewish head covering) so the boys fashioned some out of trash; the top of a jar, a piece of napkin, a brown paper bag.

Shabbas Table

What I Learned

After two days of restricted complaining, I’m not sure there’s ever a good reason to complain. I have more fun when I don’t complain and I feel better. I’m sure the people around me appreciate it too.

This is a habit I want to keep up.

Join The Challenge

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