Being confronted by a disagreeable person is a real downer. A sunny day is suddenly filled with storm-clouds. Consider for a moment the person at Walmart who grabs your parking spot, or the woman at the grocery store who hogs the isle. And how about the surly neighbor, the unkind co-workers or the snappish teen. And those whose glass is half-empty and leaking. I can’t leave out family members who share harsh words or inconsiderate actions.
My pastor made a statement recently that changed my perspective on unhappiness. (A passing sentence, not meant to be the meat of the sermon, but obviously I have chewed on it for a while.) He said:
HURTING PEOPLE ALWAYS HURT PEOPLE.
Is it possible the angry neighbor, the surly store clerk, the unfair family member or the uncooperative teen is actually not mean and nasty on purpose, but hurting inside? As human beings we find creative ways to hide our pain. Society is dealing with addictions, overflowing prisons, anger issues, and our bookstores are full of self-help publications on how to find the allusive happiness.
Too many of my days have turned from sunny to stormy because of the actions of someone else. Suddenly I become the angry person, the hurting one prone to hurt someone else.
If there is no other reason to deal with our personal unhappiness then let's do it to stop the cycle of hurting others. I tend to be more melancholy, and the clouds can darken over my head if I am not careful. Alone I cannot ban the negative self-talk, the angry thoughts, or the depressive feelings.
For me, it takes constant prayer, reflecting on bible verses, and discipline. I am not always successful. Some days I am Sally Sunshine. On other days, I tend to share more lightning bolts than gentle breezes. But I am working on it.
When you allow someone’s mood to dictate yours, there is more at risk than your good day. God is the potter. His hand is constantly on you. Pray He will
1- Create in you the ability to deflect the negativity. And 2- Give you the ability to remain positive in a hurting world.
Pray that the cycle of unhappiness will end with you. Choose happiness and do something to make it happen. And in addition, carry an umbrella for those times when you are confronted by clouds. Umbrellas protect us from and deflect those raindrops!