March 8, 2011

Tip of the day—Don’t let it steal your joy

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yesterday I was in a pretty good mood in the morning.  The sun was shining and I had a full day ahead of me that I felt good about.  My first errand after dropping off our daughter at school was to go to the post office and mail a couple of birthday presents to relatives.  I walked in the room to wait in line and was instantly deflated.  There was a huge line and only one clerk.  The more I watched the clerk the more I realized she was in absolutely no rush to get people through the line and out the door. 

I had a lot of self talk going on.  I was frustrated about my wait, frustrated at the clerk for not seeming to care that others were waiting, frustrated that they didn’t have enough staff or budget or whatever to have more clerks with lines open.  I debated the pros and cons of leaving and returning at another time.  Then I would counter the frustrated thoughts by saying that I didn’t have to be anywhere until 9am when I met my cousin for coffee, and she would understand if I were late.  I told myself that the clerk was treating each customer with care and individual attention.  I told myself that I would not be snippy with her because she was just trying to do her job the best way she knew how.  I decided that once it was my turn at the counter, I would have everything ready and be as expedient as possible so that others would not have to wait on me.

I arrived at the counter and told her that there wasn’t anything fragile, liquid, perishable, or potentially dangerous so she wouldn’t have to take the time to ask the question.  I had my debit card ready, and I went on and swiped it while she was weighing the packages, thinking that this would put me one step closer to completing the process.  Then, she snapped at me with a harsh tone of voice,  “WHY did you do that ma’am!  You can see I’m not done yet!”  I just about lost it.  I snapped back at her and left mad, frustrated, and upset with myself for not being more in control of how I behaved. 

That incident bothered me all day yesterday.  I even woke up in the middle of the night with it bothering me, and as you can tell by this post it is still bothering me.  She shouldn’t have snapped at me, but even more concerning was that I let someone else, a ridiculous situation that I won’t remember in a week, steal my joy. 

Does that ever happen to you?  I very much believe that a huge amount of how we feel is determined by on what we choose to focus our attention and thoughts.  Today I encourage you that if you see your joy slipping away, regain focus on what is most important in your day and life.  Take a few deep breaths and let the rest roll off you like water off a duck’s back. 

Now, I’m refocusing my attention to a wonderful day with my daughter who turns 5 today!

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