Just a few days after my post about doing things as soon as they need doing, I received a great lesson in “do as I say, not as I do.”
I came home with a bag full of cleaning products, including some laundry detergent. I was hungry, so I dumped the bags down by the door and had a snack. Then I watched the most recent episode of Game of Thrones on HBO Now. Then it was time to practice piano. And I wanted to catch up with my friends on Facebook. And it was my turn on Words with Friends on eight games. Basically, one thing lead to another, and when I finally roused myself to put away the products three hours later, I made an unwelcome discovery.
The laundry detergent’s cap had been loosened, and two quarts of soapy liquid were now totally soaking in my carpet. And in case, this has not happened to you, let me tell you that stuff does not want to come out.
Lesson learned: Pay attention to my own Monday Motivators!
I have a relative who fell during the ice storm in Alabama. She was in the hospital, then a rehabilitation center. She’s now home but confined to bed and has to have people with her all the time.
This would be a stressful situation under any circumstances, but my poor relative is so engrossed in her own suffering that she is unintentionally chasing off all those who want to help her. If you wash her dishes, she’ll send you to the grocery store. If you bring her groceries, she’ll demand that you take out her garbage. Nothing is ever good enough. And the emphasis in any discussion must be about her condition.
Coincidentally, a friend of mine just had major surgery, which has also put her out of commission. When I visited her, she told me the story of her surgery, but then she wanted to know about me. The next time I went to see her, she remembered the gift I had brought her and told me how much she’d enjoyed it.
Now I sympathize with my relative. She is in pain, she’s bored, and she’s scared. That’s enough to make any of us selfish and more than a little whiny. And I can be selfish and whiny with much less provocation. But there are a couple of ways to deal when our self-absorption threatens to isolate us.
One is to simply express gratitude. Once when I had a stomach virus, a colleague brought me chicken soup, sherbet, and ice cream (for when I was better). Although I could not yet eat any of that food, I was so grateful that I instantly felt not only emotionally but physically better.
The second way is to think of others. By ignoring your pain for just long enough to care about someone else’s well-being, you can often lift your own spirits.
It’s hard when we feel the world pressing down on us. But one sure way to feel better is to get outside yourself, even if just for a few seconds.
Last week, I learned that I had not been chosen for a committee. Considering that I didn’t even know this committee existed, my response was interesting.
My mental process went something like this: Wow. I didn’t know about this committee. I wasn’t chosen. Why were those people chosen? Is the message that I can’t be trusted to be objective on this committee? I would be objective. I would be a good team member. Well, now I’m offended.
Luckily, one of my few good qualities is to be able to laugh at myself. And my jump from “Hey, I wasn’t chosen for a committee that I didn’t know existed and that I don’t particularly want to be on anyway” to “These folks don’t respect my ability to be impartial and trustworthy” was pretty laughable.
More than one social commentator has mentioned our propensity for being offended. And I think being offended gives a certain weight to our hurt feelings. People might expect you to be an adult about feelings and rise above them. But once you’re offended, well, that encompasses more than feelings. It can include your professionalism, your ethics, etc., etc., etc.
Always being ready to be offended can make for some pretty unhappy workplaces and relationships. Maybe it’s time for the pendulum to swing the other way. Instead of being the first to be offended, how about being the first to overlook and forgive?
After a long weekend, the weather seems to be as unhappy with the beginning of a new work as some of our students and faculty. It is dreary and rainy with a threat of storms. Even worse, it seems that the air conditioner has kicked on, leaving us shivering at our desks. What to do?
Luckily, yesterday, I visited Cheekwood Botanical Garden to see their yearly tulips display. Tulips are my favorite flower; unfortunately, I don’t have much luck with growing them myself. So it’s always a treat to see the thousands in bloom during April. But there is an added bonus today. The memory of the yellow, red, and purple flowers just brightens up my mood on this rainy day. And the photos I took make me smile. I hope they do the same for you.