THINK ABOUT IT: the no complaint string

Okay, I know I don’t usually “vent” here on MML. I find there is a fine line in my mind between being transparent and having a pity party for myself. Because of which, I usually try to learn lessons before sharing the story here on the blog.

That said, over the past six months I have worked through a difficult private situation which has required a lot of personal and spiritual growth. So though the circumstances are hard, my ability to handle that situation has become stronger. Things aren’t still going ‘the way I want,’ but I’ve learned a lot about my own strength and spirit. Most of the time.

In addition to the personal life challenges, I’ve also recently had a very difficult situation arise in the business. Since launching the new version of Jess LC I’ve experienced some amazing highs and lows. The saying is true, with new privilege comes new responsibility and I’m learning day by day how to handle bigger risks and challenges.

These two areas of change in my life are often exhilarating, exciting, challenging, and rewarding.

Except when they’re not.

To be honest, sometimes it feels like it would have been easier to avoid the personal situation or to have delayed the launch of the new Jess LC. Things would (seem) more peaceful, secure, easy. Living through the “muddy” parts of growth can feel hard, depressing, and uncertain at times.

Two weeks ago I was feeling particularly “muddy” until I remembered this story about the no complaint bracelet. Years ago, I wore a purple string on my wrist to remind myself not to complain. If something went wrong, I was forced to ask myself: can I do anything about this? If I couldn’t take any action to improve the situation, I was forced to change the way I felt about the event. End of story.

So during my particularly grouchy day, I decided to strap a new yellow string on my wrist to re-visit the no complaint intention. And by the third day I could actually notice and stop myself from complaining. On day five, I actually become aware of complaint thoughts, and strove to let go of those as well. Overall, it did a great job helping me to be within situations that were beyond my control and not feel like a victim.

Yesterday it occurred to me that this no complaint string correlates perfectly with the idea of the happy string mentioned in the Happy For No Reason post. This string that represents no complaining also represents the ability to find happiness despite our circumstances. They are one in the same. I never would have guessed that tying the yellow string on my wrist would lead to feeling a deep sense of happiness. But it has.

At least most of the time.

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  1. Jill

    Wish I could reach through the screen for a hug – I’m glad you shared that you are human (!) and how you still strive to be your best. Very inspiring… but it still doesn’t take the difficulties away. I’ll be thinking of you!

  2. Kwana

    I remember the no complaint bracelet story and wanting to get my family on board. I think I’ll try again for spring. It’s a great idea. Thanks.

  3. I’ve done the no complaining string, but I’m thrilled to try the happiness string. It’s such a positive approach to the same issue. Thanks for sharing AND change is HARD . . . even good change. Keep it up. You’re amazing.

  4. Jess – I’m sorry you’ve been going through some things, and I hope you’re being gentle with yourself. The string idea is such a good one; I’m going to try that out tonight. I can be a bit of a complainer, and I’ve never liked that about myself. (<–see, there I go!)

  5. Niki

    We all go through rough patches like this, I’m glad you’ve found a way to get through it! Wishing you peace of mind and perseverance. 🙂

  6. Abbie

    I think we all need a reminder every once in a while. I will be thinking of you!

    Now… off to get my own string!

  7. Hugs for you, my dear! I could use a reminder like this too. Looking forward to digging through my embroidery floss when I get home tonight for the perfect shade.

  8. Bek

    What you said about feeling “muddy” reminded me of something a dear yoga instructor once told me: There cannot be growth without darkness. Think of a flower bulb, they lie under the earth in darkness until it’s time to shoot up and bloom.

    Things are dark now, but it’s only because you’re growing.

  9. Hang in there Jess. The string is such a good reminder. It’s so interesting how we get so busy in our daily lives that physical objects are the best ways to remind us of our goals…a photo of your best self, magazine cut outs of things that inspire us, a pair of those skinny jeans hanging in the closet, a yellow string on your wrist.

  10. Anna

    Jess, I am sorry to hear about your challenges. I found a quote a few weeks ago that resonated with me by Carol Burnett, ” You have faith that there is a reason you go through certain things. I can’t say I’m glad to go through the pain, but in a way, one must, in order to gain courage and really feel joy.”

    Glad to hear that you found a way to get through the difficult times. Hugs to you!

  11. Freck

    I love this. Perfect timing. I just came home from work (yes, it was an early day, but still) completely frustrated and upset. This post sincerely helped and I’m really glad I read it. I’m looking around trying to find something to put on my wrist to remind me to think positively and handle work situations better. Sigh, anyway, thanks for this and good for you for doing it!! I hope your personal life challenges have been getting easier 🙂

  12. Chels

    wow. this string is such a great idea. i have the tendency to complain and be pessimistic just because, at times, it seems like it’s the easiest thing to do, but it’s not always the most rational thing to do… it makes me crazy. taking a minute to recognize the bracelet and really process information before you complain makes total sense. i’m going to do this and quite possibly blog about it. i think its something a lot of people, especially girls our age, will relate to. thanks for the inspiration and hopefully things look up soon. you’re an extremely talented person and that’s something to always be thankful for! 🙂

  13. love this post I think I will make my own bracelet. Funnt we were just talking about this at work… being afraid to ask how they were because they are always bad, never good, great or hanging in there alsways a complaint. just found your blog via a tweet by style odyssey. so glad I stopped by.

  14. Diana Draw

    Thank you for sharing such a personal experience! I love the idea of such a bracelet; have you ever thought of making a silver or gold version of a “no complaints” and a “happiness” bracelet for your collection? Again, I love the idea, but I hate wearing string on my wrist (okay, I’m weird).

  15. PS~Erin

    What a wonderful idea. Just to be more mindful of my thoughts would be ever so helpful in controlling the negative self-talk. Thanks for sharing your struggle and how your challenging yourself.

  16. Erin

    I’m copying you – I’m totally going to do this. But I think I want to make it the no procrastination string. I can relax, or wander, or dawdle – but I want to do it intentionally – not full of guilt because I’m procrastinating. Great idea. Instead of a string, maybe I’ll buy a pretty bracelet or ring that I love. Or tattoo “stop procrastinating on my hand.” No – I’ll go with jewelry

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