A cheerful disposition isn’t automatic. It’s something I fight for daily, because the universe throws curveballs all day every day and it’s up to me to decide how to react when that tricky ball comes my way. I’ve gotta keep my guard up to respond rather than react. Yes, it’s an effort, at times even an excruciating exercise (think planking, crunches, squat thrusts, pull-ups) to defy what desires to control my emotions.
- Are you a victim of your emotions? Circumstances persuade us to automatically connect to a particular emotion. Typically, winning the lottery makes us happy, getting news that our $40K septic failed, makes us sad. I don’t want to be typical. I have not yet won the lottery, but more than one of my septic systems have failed and by God’s grace, I was able to ‘re-frame’ the occurrence and turn it into something positive. If we’re dependent on our circumstances to drive our emotions, I think we’re gonna be pretty miserable people much of the time.
- Diversity. Yes, I agree some people are wired in their personalities in such a way as to tend to see the cup half-empty, rather than half-full, but it’s not an excuse to be a Negative Nellie all day everyday.
- It’s inevitable. Every human being either works with, lives with, bumps into, or associates regularly with an individual who has difficulty seeing the silver lining, but finds it easy to rain on every single parade you host. So, how do you intend to deal with that personality? Will you continually give them a ‘pass’ to rob your joy? It’s up to you.
- Don’t be infected. Dr. Travis Bradberry says this, “Since human beings are inherently social, our brains naturally and unconsciously mimic the moods of those around us, particularly people we spend a great deal of time with. This process is called neuronal mirroring, and it’s the basis for our ability to feel empathy. The flip side, however, is that it makes complaining a lot like smoking—you don’t have to do it yourself to suffer the ill effects. You need to be cautious about spending time with people who complain about everything. Complainers want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. Think of it this way: If a person were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with complainers.”
You have a decision to make every single time someTHING or someONE threatens your contented soul. Holdfast.
[Sidenote: I just realized it’s Friday, the 13th of January. So what? Old Wive’s Tales.]