How I Stopped Complaining for a Week
By Ann Hodgman
One woman's diary
I said to my daughter, "You know what I just can't stand about this
book? The long passages with no dialogue." -
She paused, then said, "Mom, are there any books you like
Now it was my turn to pause. How could she ask that, when everyone knows how
much I love to read? But then again, when had I last complimented a book — even
one I admired? Come to think of it, how often did I say anything without a
negative twist? I don't want my tombstone to read She was pretty nice,
except for all the whining. So I'm taking action. I'm going to try to stop
complaining for a month.
Wait, make that a week. Seven days of "If you can't say anything nice,
don't say anything at all." I can stay upbeat for that long...can't I?
It's 11:00 a.m. I sit down at my desk for a quick review of the comments I've
made this morning.
"Why can't anyone come up with skim milk that tastes good?"
"That exfoliant was a total waste of money."
"Don't you hate the music on the Weather Channel?"
Three gripes since I woke up, and those are just the ones I can remember.
Revised plan: Tomorrow, I'll stop whining. Today, I'll just take notes. For
example, what's the point of carrying on about the weather? Sure, it's just a
conversation starter, but everyone already knows what it's doing outside. Oops.
Now I'm complaining about other complainers.
"I have so much work to do," moaned one of my friends on the phone this
morning. "What about you?"
"Not too bad, actually," I answered, and immediately I felt more in
control of the projects looming over my head. Wow, my first victory. Can it be
that complaining about work makes it seem like even more of a burden than it
already is? Flushed with pride, I decided to tell my family about my new
resolution at dinner. "For the next week or so, I'm not going to make a
single negative comment," I declared.
"That's so weird, Mom," said my son. "You don't sound like
"I know! That's the point — I want to change!"
I hope they'll recognize me when I've become Mommy Sunshine.
I had to get a car-emissions test today, and I didn't complain to anyone — just
went off and did it. Shouldn't I get extra credit for that?
But when I was watching TV with my daughter, we saw an ad for The
Biggest Loser — and I couldn't help saying, "I don't see how anyone
can watch this show." Normally, my kids and I bond over criticizing TV. But
now this was just another negative statement, so I added, "On the other
hand, I've never seen it! Maybe it's great!" My daughter rolled her