Remember that song, “*Accentuate the Positive” with these beginning lyrics:
“You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between!”
Although Christmas is a time of love, giving, hope, happiness and joy, there are a whole lot of grinches out there that suck all the happy out of the holiday. Who knows what makes them grumpy and angry and dismissive and rude; you can’t tell by looking or listening to them. They might have just lost a loved one, gotten a bad diagnosis, lost their job; who knows? Or they can just be pissy about everything because that’s how they see life in general.
After years and years of letting my self-righteous attitude toward these folks reign free, I realized these five truths:
- You can’t change people; they have to change themselves.
- We are not always right, and they are not always wrong.
- There may be unseen hurts and problems that make people act as they do.
- They may be alone and all that Christmas cheer may make them sad and angry.
- They just may not be fans of the holidays.
Like most humans I get irritated when I am trying to shop quickly in the grocery store and someone parks their butt right where I want to go. Nine times out of ten they don’t realize it and don’t mean to hold up anyone. They are in their own world, as am I. Deep breaths and a bit of patience helps. Or I can always just move on to another aisle and come back later.
Then there are older folks who just can’t go any faster and need to take their time. As I am getting older myself, I find I have a lot more patience and empathy for them. (And seriously; how much of a hurry are we really in?)
I remember when I was two weeks out of a knee replacement and was in the grocery store with the Crankee Yankee. I used the cart as a crutch and was moving pretty slowly as we walked toward the door. From behind me I heard a young man say loudly to his girlfriend, “ugh, old people! I think they do it on purpose; get right in your way and then walk really slowly as if they own the place.”
I looked back at him and said to the Crankee Yankee loudly, “let’s move out of this very important young man’s way; we are holding him up.” As they passed us, the girlfriend’s face was bright red. I thought, ‘sister, I’d kick that loser to the curb if I were you. If he treats strangers like this, just imagine how he’ll treat you!’
Ah, well—we just don’t know what makes other people tick. I’m trying to just co-exist with others and do my best not to judge. That last is a hard one; I am pretty ‘judge-y’ by nature. So these days my stock response to slow pokes and oblivious folks is to just live and let live.
So far I haven’t kicked anyone in the butt.
*”Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” is a popular song which was published in 1944. The music was written by Harold Arlen and the lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The song was nominated for the “Academy Award for Best Original Song” at the 18th Academy Awards in 1945 after being used in the film “Here Come the Waves”.