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How I Stopped Complaining for a Week

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continued...

"That's so weird, Mom," said my son. "You don't sound like yourself."

"I know! That's the point — I want to change!"

I hope they'll recognize me when I've become Mommy Sunshine.

Day 3
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 eyes.

Day 4
Today I caught myself about to say "I hate it when — " and quickly changed it to "Don't you hate it when — ?" But I'm pretty sure that's cheating. I've also found another way to cheat: I'll say I hate something and then add, "That's not a complaint. It's just an observation."

"Please stop," said my son. "I can't stand you trying so hard not to be negative."

But I can't stop. If nothing else, this test is making me realize how often I fuss about things that don't really bother me.

Day 5
Progress! I've had a headache for a few hours. (Not a complaint. Just an observation.) So when the supermarket checkout lady asked, "How are you?" I could've launched into my sad story — but instead, I just replied, "Great, thanks. I love your nails. Where'd you get them done?"

Biting back the real answer didn't cure my headache, but it did improve my self-image. Now I can see myself as the type of person who's friendly to store employees and cheerful in the face of adversity.

Day 6
Even when you've put a sock in your complaining, it's not easy to stay positive. Last night, my women's hockey team lost to a rival that I swear is not as good as we are. Back in the locker room, one of my fellow players said, "That was fun." I just looked at her. How could I respond without going on about the refs, the other team, the fact that it was almost midnight? But instead of complaining, I expressed what was really on my mind.

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