A week ago Sunday, I read a blog about a man who had taken a “21-Day No Complaining Challenge.” His name is Rabbi Brian and for years I’ve enjoyed reading his “Wisdom Biscuits.” Anyway, it’s usually a Sunday when I decide (for various reasons) my life isn’t working as well as it should, so I jumped on board that no complaining train. I excitedly told Hubby all about it, explaining that I’d been a little too whiny lately and would like to make my sweet disposition even sweeter (lol). How hard could it be?
Well. Halfway through the VERY FIRST HOUR, I realized I had complained four times! My knee hurt, we were out of milk, I’d forgotten laundry in the washer the day before and it was sour, and worst of all, I yelled, “Peeuw! This cat box smells like something died in it!”
After taking a Motrin for my knee, putting milk on the grocery list, fixing the laundry, and scooping the cat box, I sat down to contemplate the matter at hand. Were those things I’d said really complaints? I mean, I was simply stating the truth. The things I said were facts! What was the difference between a negative fact and a complaint?
For the rest of that day and into the next, I mulled over the challenge, putting on my philosopher’s hat. I was still thinking about it at lunch the next day and talked it over with the gals in the teacher’s lunchroom. That’s when someone said, “Maybe what you”re searching for are The Four Gates of Speech. I learned them in yoga.”
YES! I’d heard of this before, but had not been ready to learn the lesson (silly grasshopper). Here is an explanation of The Four Gates of Speech:
An old Sufi tradition advises us to speak only after our words have managed to pass through four gates.
At the first gate, we ask ourselves, “Are these words true?” If so, we let them pass on; if not, back they go.
At the second gate we ask, “Are they necessary?”
At the third gate we ask, “Are they beneficial?” and at the fourth gate, we ask, “Are they kind?”
If the answer to any of these is no, then what you are about to say should be left unsaid.
This is exactly what I was needing. It’s much clearer than just saying, “No complaining.” Wish me luck with my desire to practice better communication skills . . . with much less blurting and fewer negative observations.
I’ll leave you with a movie review for a film we watched on Netflix Saturday night called Bone Tomahawk. I love a Western and this looked like a good story with a great cast. Kurt Russell (remember The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes . . . and even more importantly he is married to Goldie Hawn), Matthew Fox from Lost, Richard Jenkins, who was amazing in Six Feet Under, Patrick Wilson (who plays the same character in every movie and is always wimpily handsome), and last but not least, Courtney Cox’s ex, David Arquette. Well. I made it through til the end, but only after running away at least four times saying, “I can’t take it anymore!” Seriously, I blame myself. Why on earth the words “kidnapped by troglodyte cannibals” in the description didn’t catch my eye, I’ll never know. Even though I truly thought it was a quality movie, I will never be able to unsee some of the vivid, violent, horrid, and torturous scenes shown in this movie. OMG. And this from a girl who can watch The Walking Dead without flinching. Yep.