As we say at work sometimes, “It’s been one of those days.” I have had a lot of those days lately. I seem to be on the most extraordinary unlucky streak and it seems that just about everything that could go wrong…has. My car has broken down and it later got locked in a parking garage. My trip to Colorado was cancelled. This has all happened within one week. The list continues. And as much as I write about happiness, I haven’t really been able to find an ounce of it lately.
I’m stumped about how to turn my attitude around. Positivity is a breeze when everything is going swell in life. Smile? Sure, no problem—it’s already on my face. But when you’re fighting back tears on a daily basis it’s a lot harder to come up with the faintest hint of enthusiasm. You can only fake it for so long.
Here’s where I’m stuck though. Studies have repeatedly shown that we as human beings don’t like unhappy people. We avoid them like the plague. They’re like runts of life’s litter that we subconsciously decide to leave behind. But it’s the runts who need the most love to get them healthy and functioning. They need extra TLC. We often find it in our hearts to love on those puppies or kittens who don’t always have the advantage. But do we do the same to humans?
Our patience is so limited. In my experience, people can handle unhappiness of their friends and family for about a day. Then, your time limit is up. I’m sorry, the whole “I’m here for you always,” is really a stretch. Now I understand how therapists do so well—no one else wants to hear about a problem for more than 5 minutes so you have to take your worries elsewhere.
Now, there are people who are entirely sympathetic, empathetic, loving, loyal and compassionate in every way. I am blessed with a few of those people in my life when my bad days have turned into weeks, or into months. But not all of us are blessed with open ears and open arms.
I have two goals though. Which I hope we can all work on.
1. If you’re in a negative rut (myself included) then let’s try to turn our attitude around. I realize it’s not always easy to find the happiness when it seems entirely hidden but let’s pay extra attention to those happy moments when we encounter them. They are there. I’m not necessarily encouraging you to hope for the future (because the longer the wait the more depressing it can get) but I think it’s good to focus instead on the happy times you’ve already experienced. Be grateful for those times and try to find ways to have similar experiences.
2. If you know someone who is going through a hard time, be patient with them. My old director used to tell me, “You never know someone’s life.” No matter how intimately tied you may be with someone, you’ll never know their thoughts. When someone comes to you seeking love, offer it. Closing your heart will just close off their happiness even more.
I hope you’re doing well, wherever you may be at. I am praying for all those involved in Hurricane Sandy and that we can all offer our greatest amount of love that we can at this time.
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook