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Why I Stopped Complaining

It’s been over forty days since our No Complaining Challenge and I am happy to report that I haven’t been complaining! This challenge started when I returned home from a powerful women’s retreat and recognized complaining had no place in my life anymore. It was a habit that wasn’t serving myself or anyone around me and I was completely ready to let it go.

Sometimes when you’re ready to change it’s easy. Sure it’s work to stay present enough to make the changes, but when real desire is present the changes flow. This has been true for me ever since I quit smoking. Yes, I was a smoker, over a pack a day for years. I quit smoking over ten years ago because I was ready to quit. I couldn’t have quit a day earlier.

Initially I thought it was going to be super hard to stop smoking. All I ever heard was how awful it was to quit. At the time an AA sponsor told me that when I was truly ready to stop it wouldn’t be that difficult. She said that when we are ready the world reorganizes itself to support our choice and support us. For some reason her words stuck with me, perhaps I was open enough to hear them. Shortly thereafter I quit smoking. In the beginning I repeated certain mantras every time I wanted to smoke and after a while I didn’t need the mantras, I was a non-smoker.

I’ve applied this same idea to many behaviors in my life that I have wanted to change. The reality is that when I am ready it’s not that big of a deal because I have already done the prep work. I’ve either been beaten down long enough by whatever the behavior is that I’m willing to surrender or I get a big intuitive hit that something needs to shift in order for me to grow through my current operating mode.

The most challenging part changing is becoming ready to shift and this can’t necessarily be rushed or taught. You have to go through whatever experiences you need to go through to end up at that threshold, open to taking the next step forward. You have to be willing to let go of who you are, in favor of you we are becoming. This in itself is very real spiritual work. Many of us have such deep grooves with certain behaviors that it’s impossible to change them without being fully ready.

I can’t tell you how many times I saw this pattern in the rooms of A.A. People entering sobriety to save their relationships, careers, and families without being truly convinced they needed to change themselves. All change begins from within. You are fully equipped with everything we need to create the shift we crave if you have laid the foundation. Like my sponsor said, when you are ready the world conspires for your greatest good, especially if your behavior changes help you be of greater service to the world.

If you are new to this practice I encourage you to spend some time watching what you complain about. take a little inventory. Once you have recognized your complaints it’s easier to trace them to the source. Most of mine come from ego and fear.

Complaining has no place in my life. Of course I can and will be honest about the challenges I face because that is part of what I am here to share, but I will not drag my energy down or the energy of those around me. When I explored the energy of complaining deeply on retreat it was crystal clear I needed to let it go. The age old theory is right, when we complain about something we are finding fault within ourselves. That is the crux of the behavior I want to shift.

For the last six weeks I have found it much easier to flow through what is coming up for me by staying out of complaining and practicing more gratitude. Each time I caught myself about to complain I quickly turned it around into a blessing. This practice helped me stay light, present and happier moment to moment. I’ve also been noticing is that people around me are complaining less as well and when I do get a heavy complainer in my field it is much easier to disengage from them and move on.

I stopped complaining because I want to cultivate more gratitude and joy in my life. It’s not about being pious or perfect, it’s about getting real with what is or isn’t working for you. When I asked myself, what I wanted to feel more of each day it was joy and that became my practice. Life is happening through you. You are the flute and spirit is the wind. When you step out of the way and open to each moment with integrity and grace, you are in our true power. Thriving. Shining. Loving.

May you have the courage to come face to face with yourself and be willing to release what no longer serves you. May you see through the illusion that you are not separate, that what you complain about exists within.

All my love.


  • Marie

    I am feeling lighter and better able to flow through challenges, thanks as always for your words! xox

    • ashley

      Loved reading your words Marie, I can feel the lightness. It really is such an expansive practice. xoa

  • Hi Ashley, great to hear that you have been successful with this challenge! I guess I’m joining in…. :-) Have a wonderful day! Corina

    • ashley

      Yes, please join! We’re always a work in progress right?! xoxo

  • Magdalena

    Thanx For These very inspiring words! I have a serious Problem with complaining but Never took such challenge als you and it is very inspiring! Im gonna try!!!

    • ashley

      You’re so welcome Magdalena! I am thrilled that you are inspired enough to join us. If this is calling to you, it’s definitely time to take a look at it and make a shift. We’re all here to support you! Lots of love. xoa

  • […] Why I Stopped Complaining by Ashley Neese […]

  • Ariane

    This has been a wonderful and uplifting experience. I did not enter into this practice lightly. I wanted to be aware of the toll complaining has taken on me. It has been freeing, enlightening, and healing. Complaining takes a hold of so many aspects of our lives once we let it in to stay. Thank you for sharing your experience and opening my mind to try this.

    • ashley

      Hey Ariane! Thanks so much for being here and sharing your experiences with us. Your comment really inspired me this morning! I LOVE reading your insights from this practice, they resonate with me deeply. I approached this just like you, with dedication and intention. It’s amazing how much we learn just by omitting complaining out of our daily lives. Wishing you a wonderful week. Here’s to doing the work so that we can live lighter and enjoy more of each moment. Lots of love. xoa

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