So, yesterday I found myself on the other end of kindness and consideration. I woke up in a bad mood (you know those days) and my Sunday commute was further hampered by the MTA (shocker, right?) and, in retrospect, I was pretty hungry. I was shown patience and kindness, which certainly smoothed my rough edges, made some beautiful music with some very bright and talented kids, and then I ate brunch at Cafe Lalo, which helped my hanger situation. But my question to you is this – when you’re in one of those bad moods, the kind you kinda want to stay in because ‘nobody’s gonna make me feel better cause I’m just mad so don’t even try! 😤’ (as read in an 8 y/o voice), how do you get out of it?
Do you wallow in it and experience all the feelings until they dissipate on their own? That’s what I like to do, to the consternation of my mother. She’s a fixer, and when she’s people that are less than happy, does her best to try and fix it. Are you a fixer, but self focused? Like you can see that your bad mood is a little ridiculous and so you force positivity on yourself to dig out of the pit? Fake it ’til you make it is a real thing, scientifically legit. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201206/there-s-magic-in-your-smile) I’ve done that a time or two when I don’t have the luxury of being in a bad mood. Sometimes all it takes to lift my spirits is a song from my bank of Instant Happy Tunes, such as Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons Who Loves You? The irony of listening to that song for that specific purpose is the lyric “It’s hard to make believe you’re happy when you’re gray”.
I think however you do it, it’s important to recognize the consideration you receive while in it. Remember what that feels like when someone smiles at you through your funk. My reaction is sometimes more anger, like “don’t smile at me, can’t you see I’m mad?! 😤” Totally unreasonable, I know, but there is still a sliver of kindness realization that cuts through all of that. “Oh! Well that’s kind of them ☺️” and the positive reaction starts. It doesn’t have to be a smile. It can be that someone didn’t push the close door button on the elevator just as you were walking in the building, or didn’t get upset when you snapped at them.
Consideration is a beautiful thing, and it’s important to remember what that feels like to receive that in the midst of a bad mood, so you can give it back to others you encounter when they are in the midst of theirs. If we were all measured by our faults in our worst moments, none of us would have any friends. Luckily, we aren’t robots and have access to empathy, kindness, and most importantly, forgiveness.
So give that stomping man with the determined look on his face in the subway some room. Smile at the frustrated looking lady behind you in the very long line for coffee. Hold open the door for the frazzled person juggling too many things. And remember that we’re all just trying to find our ‘happy’, and that we’re all in this together.
Oh, and one more thing – try eating a cookie. I’ve never had it not lift my spirits 😊