"There are good days and there are bad days, and this is one of them." ~Lawrence Welk
Bad days happen, and unfortunately we are capable of making them far worse than they need to be, or transforming them into wonderful days. I took a turn with both yesterday, but I managed to learn a lesson in the process.
Yesterday morning, while waiting an hour for breakfast, a man pulling into the parking lot nearly plowed into me, then got out of his car and made a very rude and sarcastic remark. It was one of those moments that really upsets me because I felt unjustly accused of doing something to this driver which I hadn't done. The morning got started all wrong, and it peppered the rest of the day to where I was impatient with everyone. Food tasted bad, parking spots were nowhere to be found, the world was against me I tell ya!
Okay, in all honesty, I don't really know if people were driving or acting as badly as I thought they were, but I was in such a foul mood that no one could do right as far as I was concerned. It's like that driver had played "Tag, you're it," and I was stuck with whatever bad attitude he had and had to give it to someone else to get rid of it. I could feel my face getting hot every time anyone did anything. The person walking too slow in front of me, the woman who didn't know which latte she wanted, the guy who got the parking space I should have had. These people weren't necessarily doing anything malicious or out of the ordinary, but that didn't stop me from feeling the way I did.
And that's when it hit me. I didn't want to waste my day feeling that way, and I didn't want to keep taking it out on others. Something had to change, that something being me. I flipped the switch and in the words of Gretchen Rubin "I acted the way I wanted to feel." I forced myself to act happy, patient and kind, letting people turn in front of me, opening doors for others, whatever I could do to feel gracious rather than irritable and sullen. The actions took over for the mind and the rest of the day turned out remarkably better, even though there was still bad traffic, long lines and people that were not as considerate as they could have been. I was able to put myself in the frame of mind to know that no matter what I encountered, I could make the decision as to whether it would discourage or encourage me.
I saw so clearly that what we sometimes think of as just social graces (etiquette, manners, poise) are actually tools we can use to make our lives more satisfying and to smooth the rough edges that we sometimes come up against in life. I also learned that the kindness we show others does come back to us, because the kind person we become is much easier to get along with.
What small changes have you made to transform a bad day into a good one?