Negative people suck. Especially first thing in the morning. I know this morning, I woke up and didn’t want to go to work not that I want to go to work most mornings. But I woke up after snoozing multiple alarms. I got out of bed practically still sleeping this morning.
I already had to give myself a pep talk to face the world this morning I’m sure a lot of you do. Whether you’re getting up to go to a lecture at sunrise, opening up a coffee shop to the buzz of grinding coffee beans when you’re hungover, being flung awake by a baby crying, or cold water being poured on you by a parent after you’ve ignored them calling up the stairs to wake you up most mornings, some of us need to motivate ourselves to go, do, live. AND THEN, just when we go out into the world to get down to business, some negative person pops up and tries to ruin everything you have been working all morning to build up.
Now I’m sure I don’t need to go through examples of these negative people that crash into your day like a bat out of hell. No no. You all have an instance I bet you’re thinking of one right now where someone just royally tried to ruin your day. Beyond trying, I bet you can think of a time when someone succeeded at ruining your day.
I’ve given people the power to ruin my day before. It’s one of the worst feelings ever when you finally make it to the end of the day and think to yourself when you climb into bed “What a waste of a day.”
Think about it. You wasted all of that energy having a bad day because of someone else. And guess what, by being in a bad mood, you probably ruined someone else’s day. Maybe not actively, but it’s very possible in your angry fog, you did something, said something, or implied something that ruined someone else’s day.
That is a whole lot of negative floating around.
Imagine instead that you wake up in the morning and you give yourself a pep talk and you get going and moving and it’s happening, you’re doing it! And then something happens. Someone who is having a bad day pushes their bad day off on to you.
How can you overcome the natural instincts that follow these interactions? How can you overcome the rabbit hole that turns your whole day upside down?
Someone tried to ruin my day this morning, maybe even my week, and what did I do? I called my grandma. I told her all about what happened and she said something she has been saying to me since I was a little girl.
For every unkind thing that someone does to you, turn around and do ten kind things throughout the day.
When I was in middle school and even high school, I hated this advice. I didn’t want to sit and think about acts of kindness to perform. I wanted to complain about the person who wronged me. I wanted to get angry about the fact that someone disrupted the flow of my day.
And then I realized that there are hundreds of thousands of other people crossing paths with me every day who have also had someone act unkind towards them. There are all of these people walking along having horrible days because they think the world has turned its back.
Have you ever been in a bad mood and someone did something nice that surprised you? Like you have your eyebrows squeezed together and your jaw clenched and it feels like heat is rolling down your back and flames coming out your ears and some little old lady comes
up and says you have beautiful eyes. And then you smile and she says “wow, what a smile!” And then suddenly every thing you were feeling a minute earlier is just gone.
It takes a lot of energy to be in a bad mood. But it takes very little energy to act kindly towards others. And at the end of the end of the day, haven’t we all read that quote about how emotions are actually only felt for a little while immediately following something that occurs and all feelings that you feel for an extended period of time are feelings you make yourself feel like frustration, anger, jealousy, what have you. Be upset right after someone tries to ruin your day, but then turn around and don’t give them the power to influence more than just a moment of your life.
So then what? What do you do with your day? You go out and spread acts of kindness.
- Hold the door for someone who looks like they are struggling to carry four bags and push a stroller.
- Let an elderly person searching for a spot in a busy parking lot take the spot you’ve been eyeing up near the door.
- Make a little kid smile with a joke, a smile, a laugh, or a compliment.
Let someone who looks like they are in a hurry cut in line.
- Always say “please” and “thank you.”
- Never miss a chance to say “excuse me” or “pardon me” if you cross paths with someone, regardless of whose fault it may be.
- Always say good morning to those who look like getting out of bed was a fight.
- Let someone have the last muffin.
- Don’t get angry with your significant other when he isn’t listening while your grocery shopping at the end of the day and you’re both tired and hungry. Remember, you aren’t the only one who has had a long day.
- Leave someone a thoughtful note.
- Tell someone you appreciate something they have done for you. Remind someone you love that you love them.
On top of all of these things, try not to ever go to bed angry. It’s bad for your soul to go to bed burning energy on being angry. During the day, remember to breathe when someone smacks you down. If you try to regulate yourself and be in your best state, your interactions without the people throughout the rest of the day will be much more positive. You will listen, engage, and respond to people in ways that are simply not possible when your mind is clouded by negative emotions.