January 25, 2020

“Complaining is truly my strongest weakness.”
― Evinda Lepins, American writer

Years ago, I attended a prosperity seminar given by Edwene Gaines, author of The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity. There we sat; a few hundred eager minds ready to hit the jackpot. Money, we want more money in our lives! Ms. Gaines sat rather regally on her chair, perched like she was riding side saddle alongside the Queen of England. With her bouffant hairdo, wearing a ruffled dress and bright pink lipstick, and with a delightful Southern drawl, she declared, “Write this down. The first law of prosperity. I will not complain for 21 days.” Many of us were speechless. How could this notion contribute to prosperity?

“Those who complain much get little, those who complain little get much.”  ― Jeanette Coron, artist, author, blogger

This it not what I came to hear. I wanted insights into how to get rich and stay rich. “Then stop complaining,” she said to us, over and over and over again. So, I committed to no complaining for 21 days. If I caught myself complaining, I had to start over. How’d I do? I never got through 21 days. Once I learned how complaining diminishes my energy body, I got what she was saying. Consider these snippets of research:

“Complaining releases cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone.” - Travis Bradberry, Emotional Intelligence 2.0
“Every time you complain, your brain creates shortcuts to think more pessimistically. Therefore, when you verbalize a gloomy idea, the brain wires you to accept new information negatively.” Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 2007 study 
“As it turns out, whining about your problems during the day can affect you at night. Those who practiced gratitude slept longer and had a better quality of sleep than those who expressed annoyance or frustration.” - Berkeley study for the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Gaines was used to hearing complaints about complaining, but she never took offense. What she tried to do was help us form what she called a “habit of positivity.” Not in a Pollyanna kind of way, but the real truth that the vast majority of things in my life are going well. Gratitude became my friend.

“The soul that gives thanks can find comfort in everything; the soul that complains can find comfort in nothing.” ― Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911) Lay speaker & author

There’s a man—older than me—in my arthritis swim class who always wears a smile. I never hear him complain about his body aches and pains, which is why we’re in this class together. Recently he said to me, “My doctor told me I had to exercise more.” I replied, “So that’s why you’re in this swim class?” “No,” he said, “I took up watching golf.” With that he let out a manly sort of giggle. I asked him what the doctor said at the next visit. “You need an exercise that is more active.” So, what did he do? “I started watching bowling.” Again, the giggle, this time from me as well. Just a few days ago I inquired about his newest from of exercise. With incredible vim and vigor, he said, “I’m watching tennis and I feel G-R-E-A-T!!!” No complaints from this guy.

Wear a smile. Get some exercise. Start a gratitude journal. Embrace your aliveness. And for the sake of your aliveness, stop complaining!

“Any day above ground is a good day. Before you complain about anything, be thankful for your life and the things that are still going well.” ― Germany Kent, print and broadcast journalist