A friend of mine from high school posted on her Facebook wall yesterday:
"Life should be lived with a little more GRATITUDE instead of so much ATTITUDE!"It really resonated in the moment. There seems to be another wave of "my life sucks" going through the world. Quite a few Facebook status messages, the Twitter stream and people in real life. It seems that people are getting more "snappy" with one another. Personally, I think it has to to with the LONG winter and all of the snow and rain that are fraying people's nerves but in either case- it needs to change.
I don't know what people hope to accomplish when they are projecting all the negativity. Are they hoping someone will join their pity party? Are they trying, when they jump down a stranger's throat, to make that person as miserable as they are feeling? All that they really accomplish is spreading their nastiness further. It certainly doesn't make anyone feel better. Think about it. If you are around someone who is just blatently cranky, doesn't it make you feel like you could just smack them? No matter how hard you try to be pleasant, negativity spreads like H1N1 before vaccines.
With all that is going on in the world right now; the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Haiti still recovering from their earthquake, the troops deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya- is it really a crisis if your tire is flat or if you are running late, if someone cuts you off in traffic or your husband or kids are being a pain in the ass? Is it necessary to berate the waiter who brought your dinner a little cold or the cashier who is going a little slow today? It's not going to make you feel better, it will make them feel horrible, and they probably have a lot going on in their life too and you just compounded it.
So what can we do if we encounter one of these people? Well, the first thing we can do is be thankful that we are not them. If it's someone that we know, we can always combat their negativity with positivity and try to turn their attitude around. A little "I guess that you can be thankful that ________" goes a long way or we can ask them what is GOOD in their life. If that doesn't work we can always gently remove ourselves from their presence. Give "It seems you are having a bad day so I am going to go work on something else and when you are feeling better come find me" works to acknowledge their bad attitude without engaging in it and excuses you from their negativity. If the person is not someone that you know the best thing you can do is to count to 10 (20, 50 even) before you respond. That will give you time to center yourself and let their black cloud roll off of you before you respond in kind. You can put them in their own little compartment and mentally close the door on them before you "catch" what they are projecting. You can visualize your "go to" thing that you are thankful for in your life and use it as a touchstone to keep you in your happy place. The most important thing is that you don't let them infect you and then pass it on yourself.
More gratitude, less attitude- the whole world would be a better place if we could spread that "condition" as easily as we spread our bad moods.