Róisín Ingle on complaining
I WAS ONLY 10 minutes into what was going to be a much longer rant about somebody I’m prone to occasional rants about when my mother brought up the bracelets. She said she’d read an article about them by Claire O’Connell in our excellent Health supplement. “What bracelets?” I asked, most irritated on account of having been stopped mid-rant.
It was a particularly eloquent session. I only employed expletives on two occasions and I more than proved my point, which was that she who shall not be named WAS being a complete pain in the neck and ipso facto I bore NO responsibility at all for the victimised situation in which I found myself. Oh, I love being right. The air is so much better up here on the high moral ground.
“You know, those purple complaining bracelets,” my mother persevered for no good reason but I am a sucker for a good gimmick so I let her continue.
Apparently six years ago an American minister bought a load of purple bracelets for a practical lesson encouraging his flock to practise gratitude. Taking his line from some studies which suggest that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, the idea was that his congregation should wear the bracelets and move them to the other arm if they caught themselves complaining or gossiping or criticising. If they wore their bracelet on the same arm for 21 days they would be well on the way to forming more positive habits and becoming virtually Complaint Free.
There’s a few handy statistics about complaining on the Complaint Free World website. Apparently we complain about 15 to 30 times each day, double that if you are Esther from Fair City or the average caller to Liveline.
I have a relative who if she put on that bracelet wouldn’t be able do anything because her entire day would be spent swapping the bracelet from one arm to the other arm. She complains, therefore she is.
In theory I should be behind this whole thing because the Complaint Free World movement was inspired by one of my heroes, the American writer Maya Angelou, who once famously said: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
She was recently awarded the six-millionth Complaint Free World bracelet by the complaint-free crowd.
Another writer I admire, Caitlin Moran, often says in interviews that one of her core beliefs is that, if you’re complaining about something for more than three minutes, “two minutes ago you should have done something about it”. Ah yes, Caitlin and Maya, but the fact remains that moaning is just so much easier than action.