By Reilly Brady
I failed this challenge. It seemed so simple––just don’t complain––and I couldn’t do it. Last month, I managed to force myself to not eat sugar, depriving myself of sweet candies, desserts, and even bread, but I could not last a week without a complaint. In fact, I could only last a few hours at a time, at most. I may have failed the challenge, but I’m not the only one who struggles with complaining––it’s a human tendency to complain often and about anything. From groaning about waking up early to grumbling about a practice for a sport to complaining about a large homework load, we constantly are mumbling about some task or responsibility. Throughout the challenge, one question stuck with me: what is it about complaining that I––and humans in general––love so much?
While forcing myself to hold back from complaining, I constantly felt bottled up and ready to explode. Not being able to rant to a friend about my busy schedule or vent to Coach Larry about the heat in cross country actually raised my stress levels––I actively prevented myself from speaking the complaints that were filling my mind. In the moments that I complained, despite feeling guilty for abandoning my challenge, I felt like a weight was lifted as I was able to discuss what was aggravating or upsetting me.
However, complaining isn’t always beneficial. I have a tendency to over-complain, and throughout the week I noticed that complaining could also worsen my mood. I realized that I often view everything much more negatively when I complain instead of trying to approach my day with a positive outlook.
Overall, despite my failures, I learned valuable lessons from this challenge. Though it is healthy to complain and share emotions, complaining too frequently can negatively affect yourself and those around you. Like most everything in life, complaining should be done in moderation – too much or too little of it has negative consequences. My advice? Complain away––just not too much.