Week 2 Days

Bitch About It | Day 8

What if you just gave yourself permission to complain?

Take some time to digest that question. I pride myself on feeling my feelings (and honestly, I love to bitch about stuff), but I also know that nobody loves a complainer. I know the cost of focusing on all the shit that’s going wrong and to assign blame to pretty much everyone except myself. I’ve learned to manage my energy in more effective ways, but at the same time, the unspoken mandate to stuff down our feelings and just smile and act like we are ok keeps us from getting real about what’s really going on.

It’s actually really healthy to complain and to be real about our feelings, as long as we’re aware that’s what we’re doing. The trick? Don’t judge your judgments, but create a container around them. That means being totally honest and compassionate with yourself by feeling your feelings, even when they might be kind of edgy. Create a space for yourself to express them, because, after all, denying your feelings can make them come out in other ways in your life. However, don’t let your complaints deplete your energy and take your attention away from other things in your life. Spending your time fixated on what’s going wrong can be such a drain. In exercising compassion and self-awareness, we can strike just the right balance, and our complaints actually become gateways to change and new solutions.

Activity

Think about all the complaints that currently dominate your life—maybe your kids are driving you crazy, or you are frustrated with your job. Even if you don’t feel particularly “complainy” today, find something to bitch about. Now, find a nonjudgmental friend who’s willing to listen to your tirade with empathy (it’s helpful if your complaints aren’t about them!). They are not allowed to fix what you’re experiencing or offer you an alternative perspective. Their job is to just listen, smile and nod, and offer support. (And if you don’t have someone who fits this role, that’s fine; create a supportive presence in your imagination and just start talking out loud.) Set a timer for 20 minutes and go wild. Let yourself be as nitpicky and mean as possible. Say the things that might seem taboo. Overdo it if you want to! When the timer goes off, breathe and make a commitment to let it all go. Now, go about your day without holding on to your complaints. Note how you feel. It’s important to give yourself the space to do this exercise, because allowing yourself to simply vent can create more clarity and space for your truth.

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