From Cranky to Happy

The following is a post I wrote two Novembers ago. The message still stands today.

Couldn’t we all use a little more kindness in our lives? It has become sort of a rare commodity these days. Often our go-to response to many situations has become mean-spirited, belligerent, aggressive, angry or just plain rude. Just look at all the road rage we hear about these days—it’s frightening.

Most of the ‘stand-out’ people in my life have been those who have been and are kind. Kindness does not equate weakness; actually, it’s strength. That old Bible quote, “blessed are the peace-makers” is as real today as it ever was. I have seen situations shift from anger to calmness by just a bit of kindness.

I have to wonder what’s going on in some people’s lives that makes them react with anger; usually it has nothing to do with anyone but themselves and how they feel about themselves. I know that when I am anxious, fearful, sad or worried, I am snappish and easily offended. Most of the time, this is all about me and has nothing to do with anyone else.

The trick of it is to realize that I am just having a bad day, and then realize that I have the skills to turn it around. Whether or not I do this is up to me and me alone. Knowing this keeps me humble; I’m human and therefore fallible. But most of all, I don’t have to feel bad.

So on days like that, I make kindness my priority. Once we decide that we do not want to stay angry or resentful, we have the power to change. When I am struggling to get back to kindness, I think about what my amazing step-daughter used to say to Ava (my first granddaughter) when she got upset and angry over something.

She would smile at Ava and say, “how about we go upstairs and change out of your Cranky Pants into your Happy Pants?”

Just the thought of that cracks me up. And yes, it actually is easy to change our attitudes from cranky to happy. It is just another decision that only we can make for ourselves.

The days when we wake up feeling bad or just off-center, we can choose to lift ourselves up. I picture the process as “up-shifting;” that is, manually shift from cranky to happy. We can decide, just like that, that we want to be happy. We can decide to be grateful and see all that is good in our lives.

How do we do this? It’s as easy as saying out loud, “I am going to be happy and grateful today. I am leaving this bad mood by the side of the road, and I am going to start by being kind to the first person I see.” Just these thoughts and saying the words out loud make a chemical shift in our brains so that we actually can become happy.

By all means we can be kind to others. But why not be kind to ourselves? It’s a win-win; good for us and good for those around us. Even if we extend kindness to another person by simply smiling at them, it changes us and it changes them. They might not even smile back, BUT it makes a difference; believe it.

Kindness is the ultimate life-changer. Let’s all “up-shift!”


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