It was glorious Vermont summer day. I was in a great mood. My editor Suzanne and I had a productive morning and had stopped to make copies of some chapters in my upcoming book.
Before entering the store, Suzanne warned me, watch out, Kate, the woman in there is really unhappy. As we approached the counter, another customer asked Kate, “How’s it going?” Gruffly without turning around Kate replied, “It’s going”. I thought to myself. She probably has a mantra that’s something like: I’m the kind of person no one appreciates. I work hard and for what?
Just think, if someone says this over and over consciously or not, to herself. How would a person behave if she felt justifiably angry and undervalued? She’d probably act in ways that drove people away. And as she drove them away, she’d feel unappreciated. And so it goes. There’s the vicious cycle that makes her unhappy. And therefore, grouchy. And a grouchy person, as we all know, can put a sour tinge on the day.
So how do you turn that grouchiness around and make a bad experience into a piece of yippee?
You step out of the cycle. And 99% of the time that means appreciation.
When I saw Kate, I noticed she had the most beautiful blue eyes, and I told her so. I said, they match the color of your shirt. I smiled, not really expecting a response. Much to my surprise, Kate told me she was the only blue-eyed daughter among four girls. I said, that makes you really special. She beamed. Well, I always was the blue girl in my family, the odd one. They never knew where I came from.
Was that family the start of her mantra of being unappreciated? I’ll never know. But by appreciating her, I stepped out of her cycle. And she came with me. We had a good exchange and getting our copies was actually fun.
As we left the store, Suzanne told me she’d been going there seven years, and had never seen her smile.
What I hoped for Kate was that our short interchange gave her a tiny drop of feeling appreciated. Maybe, just maybe, she’ll be pleasanter with the next customer and they will respond in kind, helping to stop the vicious cycle. Who knows?
If you have a grouchy person in your life and are feeling the pain, step out of the cycle, tell them what you like about them, what you notice, what stands out, it can be their shoes, their hair, the way they do their job. Spread a little yippee and see how it changes their day. And yours…
Do it once this week and let me know how it goes. It’s hot and steamy sticky and crazy busy and everyone needs a little drop of yippeeee…
Until next Tuesday.