Life is full of little truths and here’s one that I was thinking about this morning:
It’s easier to catch a bad mood than a good mood.
In my household, it’s not uncommon for one or both of us to be having a hard time. A serious hard time. We’ve both battled depression and I suffer from anxiety, which is at least being treated and is pretty well under control most of the time these days. Over the years I’ve learned that you can’t count on someone else to make you happy, especially when you are depressed. That means that when I’M the one who is down, I can’t count on Hubby to make me feel better but the times I find this most comforting is when HE is down. I will drive myself crazy trying to make him happy when I am not the problem and there is nothing I can do. Reminding myself that you can’t rely on other people to make you happy helps to remind me that I can’t fix everything.
(Really, I’m terrible at fixing things. lol. I try but I often cause bigger messes.)
These past two days I have tried very hard to be happy and cheerful and light. I’ve forgiven people for their bad moods and recognized that they aren’t my fault. All I can do is try to be in a good mood and hope that it rubs off. I can laugh at myself and at the world, which I’ve been doing a lot of in the last week. I can smile while I help out. I can feel good when I get things done and make things easier on the people around me. I can point out the best of things. I can give people a break and not pester them about their moods and not hang my insecurities on them. I have control over my moods.
On the other hand, bad moods are very easy to catch.
When someone I love is short with me or acts like they are mad at me, I pretty much fall apart. I am a crier, for sure. When things are rough and I feel like I am trying to hold the world together it takes very little to make me feel like a failure. But it’s not just them. When I am down, it’s easy to say something flippant to Hubby and it can actually end up being very hurtful.
Yesterday I managed to forgive and forget and move on. I managed to have a good day. I worked hard. I talked to my patrons and coworkers. I enjoyed my lunch break, sitting in my car and listening to an audiobook. It was beautiful outside and I could see the sun and the people outside enjoying it from my desk. I had my favorite microwaveable meal for lunch and I started this project and started National Novel Writing Month. I reveled in good news and allowed myself to daydream a little. I felt good.
20 minutes before the end of my workday, I grabbed a stack of seven or eight books and carried them back to the support services area. They were small books and they may have weighed five pounds but I’m sure they didn’t. I could have carried them with one hand except that they were a little too thick for my little hands. When I walked past the welcome desk, a coworker accosted me.
Coworker: “You should be using a cart!”
Me: “I’m fine.”
Coworker: “No, you need to use a cart. You can’t carry heavy things in your condition.”
Me: “I promise these aren’t heavy at all.”
Coworker: “Use a cart from now on. Shame on you!”
Wait. What? Did someone just say “shame on you” to me? Someone who I barely know? Did they just shame me like a child? Me? A 32 year old, professional woman? I mean, I guess I could see it if I was actually doing something terribly irresponsible like throwing back a shot of whiskey while I hit a bong but, seriously? For carrying five pounds or less? I am only 17 weeks pregnant. Am I supposed to be on bedrest for the next 23 weeks?
This particular coworker always has something to say about my pregnancy. It’s kind of a thing, from suggesting that I drink fruit flavored water to help give up pop (I don’t drink pop and fruit flavored water is gross.) to making comments about my diet as she randomly walks past my desk to telling me that all of the information I’ve read and asked my doctor about is wrong.
My blood boiled. I went right into the room where our Lego club was meeting and moved all of the tables around by myself while I cursed under my breath. Only after steaming for about a half hour did I realize what had happened. She had rubbed off on me and my beautiful, wonderful mood and my beautiful, wonderful day that I had worked so hard to achieve was falling apart from that one interaction.
It’s that easy to catch a bad mood.
I called my mom. I talked to her about her day. I stopped at the grocery store and bought my favorite things. I listened to David Bowie’s “Starman,” which has been stuck in my head for a week. When I got home, I gave Hubby a hug and a kiss. I cuddled the cats. I worked around the house and chatted with my brother’s friend who is building our deck. I stood on our deck for the first time. I built my mood and my day back up and when Hubby went to bed early I did my best not to be disappointed and instead worked on my novel and then did some reading.
After all, no matter how contagious bad moods are, we still get to choose how we feel.
And so that is my first truth.