No-Bitching for 21 Days

A Wild Ride: No-B*tching for 21 Days

Life is a mirror that will reflect back to the thinker what he/she thinks into it. ~ Ernest Holmes

What a wild ride through our 2024 No Bitching Challenge … 21 days of No Complaining, No Criticizing and No Gossip! We survived but it was full of twists and turns.

It was, and continues to be, an incredible adventure in consciousness: what I pay attention to grows and thrives.

Mother of a teenager with ADHD

Why did I initiate this challenge?

I did it for myself.

As a mother of a teenager with significant ADHD (wildly loud, messy and chaotic), I realized too many things coming out of my mouth are often critical.  I know this only creates more anxiety and pain between us, and in fact, he’s an amazing human with incredible qualities. (He’s fun, kind, positive, handsome and intelligent … I could go on!) 

But, he was only hearing negative feedback from me and I would judge myself as a bad mom and around we would go in a toxic spiral. It’s not how I want to live or parent.

Who was elated when I decided to get this challenge going? My son.

My husband was pretty darn happy too. They both acted as my monitors (ack!) and kept me clean for the most part. (Which reminds me: Who is a great accountability partner supporting you in making positive change?)

There are other reasons I wanted to do this challenge. I first read about the idea of 21 days of No Bitching in a little book called The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity by Edwene Gaines, a teacher in the New Thought movement. This challenge is included in her various prosperity and abundance practices. In particular, she uses it before she wants to dive into a big life-changing goal (as if not bitching wasn’t life-changing enough).

Why would she do that? 

I had to think about it, but those of you who are farmers and gardeners will get this … before you plant seeds in the spring, you have to check the soil for weeds, rocks and other junk that will impede the growth of new plants. The soil must be clean and robust to receive the seeds for their ultimate success. 

So it is true for our minds. If you want to achieve something significant, identifying and clearing the negative thoughts and words that block growth is critical. Instead, infusing the mind with kindness and gratitude gives our new dream a beautiful path to realization. 

It’s just logic –  the more obstacles we can remove in advance of a big change, the easier it will be. 

what we pay attention to grows

A third reason for the challenge – what we pay attention to grows. It’s a spiritual law that we must actively engage …
when I pay attention to that which displeases me, those unhappy seeds proliferate. I will find endless evidence as to why no one likes me, why it’s never my turn, why nothing works out for me, why I’m always lacking time, energy and money. The weeds go wild! 

When I trap and pull the weeds and plant and water new seeds of joy, peace, gratitude and water them with acceptance and kindness, those plants reach for the sky and bask in the warmth. Things seem to flow, I find I have exactly what I need, when I need it. I am surrounded by fun, supportive and interesting people who treat me well. I am happier and happier.

Which plants do you choose to grow? It’s simple logic, and darn it, sometimes, not so easy to follow. 

Which brings me back to the challenge  – how did it go? 

It was (and still is, incredible, you can still join the group here)  We did it!! We are celebrating!

We showed up, we gave our best and we triumphed in attending to the words we speak out into the world.

It wasn’t easy, and we acknowledged that – we shared the struggles, the disappointments and the vulnerability that goes with growth. It’s a tender time when those little shoots of hope poke up through the ground. We saw ourselves in each other, and supported each other.

And, we used this wonderful 12 Step Mantra: Progress Not Perfection.

These prompts and deep questions help to unravel thought patterns that lead to our words. Below are some examples … check out all the responses by joining the group here)

  • Where are your Bitching Danger Zones?
  • What are your typical thoughts when you first wake up?
  • Today when I want to bitch, I will ______ instead
  • What is arising in you as you limit your bitching?
  • When I want to critique I will ______ first!
  • When I make a mistake, I ________
  • When others make a mistake, I _______
  • What if my way isn’t the right way?
  • I gossip when I am feeling ______
  • Where do I tend to gossip the most?

And we used the following to remind ourselves of what we really want to grow:

  • demonstrate kindness toward yourselfWhat are three lovely qualities I share with the world?
  • How will I demonstrate kindness toward yourself today?
  • Can I ask for what I want and need directly?
  • Expect unexpected joy … where do I find it?
  • What do I truly want?
  • What is in my favour?

All these prompts and questions stirred up deep awareness, vulnerability and joy.

And I shared a number of short videos to help along the way (check them out by joining the challenge – the group is still going strong just go to this link, and the videos are in the featured tab).

For the most part, the No Bitching Challenge is an exercise in self compassion. Simply put, when we are kind and gentle with ourselves, we tend to be kind and gentle with each other. When we feel less than or better than others, we are not kind and gentle people.

If we give ourselves permission to make mistakes, others can too.

If we accept that we are imperfectly perfect, we are more likely to accept that others are doing their best too.

If we understand that we are feelings unhappy or not-belonging in someway, we are more likely to gossip to make ourselves feel better, rather than deal with the challenging situation directly with honest conversations.

And finally, there is one principle shared in my last blog, The Harsh Voices in Your Head, that simply must be repeated, over and over …

There is NO redeeming value in harshness. There is nothing that harshness can do that loving firmness doesn’t do better.  ~ Terry Real

My own hope is that through this never-ending challenge we can begin to feel our own power for good in our lives. This is how we can BE THE CHANGE we want to see in the world.

As we awaken to the ways we project our sense of lack out into our environment and stop giving power to those negative thoughts, we can shift our attention to something new … something enlivening, precious, even joyful – and that something is YOU, ME and US. 

Welcome back to the person you are designed to be. Powerful, Aligned, Creative and Joyous.

7 thoughts on “A Wild Ride: No-B*tching for 21 Days”

  1. Marina Gavrilova

    I can relate to everything you said Fran! It’s a journey of self reflection and learning, that sometimes goes into chaotic wild ride of emotions and feelings, all with the background of our connections, responsibilities and circumstances. This is likely not going to change. However one thing I learned from this Challenge is the sense of a community and wisdom of each own individual – while our journeys are unique, our paths intertwine. We are not ALONE. 🙏

  2. I did a screen shot of the prompts and questions to write out later. Once I write something down I can usually recall it although with age I find it a little more difficult, but I’m not a quitter. I am grateful for the resources ie., the videos, the comments, and the source of the these the people.
    The support this group has offered has me feeling like I am in a community that I want to be a part of.
    The sharing was wonderful as I saw myself via others words and new insights into how I could use the tools I have to assist in future situations because of their shares. Awareness is key.
    I am grateful to Fran Watson for making this possible, challenging, authentic, exciting, and yes fun!

  3. Elizabeth Smith

    Love the blog Fran and all the work you do and the person you are!
    i did my best to commit to this challenge and stumbled through some days more conscious of my choice of words than others. it‘s possibly easier if you live alone like I do with far less confrontations and projections.
    i loved your short sentences …? to fill in and work with during the day and following days. i also enjoyed your video clips with your insights!
    Often I get distracted when on challenges and start with gusto and seldom complete . you kept me on my toes to keep questioning and reflecting and I often reminded myself during the day and told others I was on this challenge. I connected deeply with it knowing I do occasionally „b..tch“ ( especially with those I care for) and would love to replace that part with more loving kindness.
    the last days of the challenge I was at the Distrct Conference in Duisburg, Germany and then 5 days in Copenhagen with my kids and my new grandchild. it seems especially with my daughter that I get most triggered and with your challenge in the back of my head I did my best to keep that awareness – not always successfully unfortunately. She has a similar way of withdrawing when we feel hurt and we loose connection as we struggle to find our way out of that hole to a new opening from where we can restart again. It was good to share with her about this challenge. I feel it gave both of us a space to express our love to oneanother and our desires to find the kindness and respect we both want to generate to oneanother.
    i got back to Spain last week and have been down under with high fever and most likely Covid. It has kept me in bed a full week and still just recovering and no where back in life again. yet it‘s been an opportunity to rest and have an opportunity to listen to podcasts and do nothing (which is always a challenge) .
    i never got to thank you for this wonderful initiative and group you have created here! i am delighted to be a member in it! Thank you Fran !! Much love, Elizabeth

  4. This is and was a lovely idea and a gift to all of us who participated Fran Watson. Thank you so much. I learned that it is possible to still those crazy critical parts of my brain if I worked on it!!! Sharon

  5. Danelle Lepage

    Love this Fran! It makes so much sense …

    I might join your workshop on Sunday, depending on how my weekend plans finalize. Can I confirm last minute?

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