Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Enjoying my Spoonful of Sugar

Photo via Inscrib'd
I had an experience the other day that changed my outlook on life a little. Our family is going through a bit of a rough patch right now, but really who isn't. The economy kinda stinks and there always seem to be too many bills. Some very kind people have offered help and we've graciously accepted what we need and people have generally been polite and very nice about everything.

And then... I found myself being screamed at by someone who had good intentions but wasn't very considerate of me or my time. I was called "ungrateful" and "rude." I can assure you I was neither. It's truly not in my nature to be like that. To make matters worse, my six-year old daughter was standing there watching this person go bonkers at me. She also witnessed my complete melt down after she left and quietly excused herself to another room.

Now, the situation has been handled and I was informed that there are some other issues that may have impacted this person's response, and while it was completely inappropriate, I can empathize with reacting emotionally rather than rationally.

As I was thinking about this incident I thought about how bad it made me feel. I didn't like feeling like less of a person because I am not. As I thought about this, I started paying attention to things I do, like getting testy at silly drivers on the road or groaning at the very long line at the pharmacy or feeling frustration at difficulties but not taking enough credit for my own contribution to the mess. And sometimes, I even judge people in my mind when I really have no idea what I'm talking/thinking about.

So, I decided to make a goal: I'm going to adjust my personality. When people are really friendly to me, I get a buzz or adrenaline. Good customer service makes me feel really good. But, I also noticed that when I'm truly friendly to someone, when I take the time to look at them and offer a genuine smile and a real "Thank you." It feels good. It feels good to be nice, to have the confidence to really pay attention to someone and acknowledge their helpfulness or their presence.

It may also be a little entertaining to see the shock flicker across someone's face when you are genuinely kind. I can't decide if it should make me laugh or cry when someone seems taken aback at kindness. Are that many people rude, or even just neutral?

More than anything, I want my girls to be happy and to be good, kind people. No matter how I'm feeling about myself of about how crappy things seem to be going, I feel good when I am able to lift someone else and for those few moments I actually feel content.

So, Piglet, thank you for the advice: "Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."(Winnie The Pooh)

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