Naturally the very first thing I did after yesterday’s blog was practice grimacing in the mirror. Before heading back to work from lunch, though, I managed to talk my way into an argument with my best friend/sis. Instead of backing down when I found myself digging the hole deeper, I dug it even further! She’s very justifiably upset and I completely failed my first day of being kind to others. Being kind to others doesn’t mean you can use your close friends, best friends or family as punching bags. Positive outlets for any feelings you might suppress include any creative outlet, sports of some sort (preferably where you don’t shoot anything alive with anything deadly), or good old-fashioned drive-to-the-middle-of-nowhere-and-scream. The latter is one I’ve never managed to complete! I tend to let out a squeak, get embarrassed, and go home. Driving itself is one of my favorite activities for letting out steam. With gas prices being what they are, the alternative is taking a walk or biking. Yesterday, after completely wounding someone I never wanted to hurt, I took a walk with a co-worker. Sometime during the walk I found myself feeling cleaner and thinking clearly. It was cathartic and healthy. The sun was perfect, we sweated a bit, and we even found a dollar on the ground when we went the circuitous route instead of heading right back to work. These all seemed like positive signs that I was finding a better way to handle stress. The next time I find myself being that annoying obstinate mule that can’t be wrong, I’m going to take a walk. It helps my husband cool off, it helps me let off some steam, and it has the added benefit of being a very healthy exercise that doesn’t put too much pressure on joints.
I’ve taken walks on days my co-workers were busy or out of the office. While not as friendly, it’s got its own peace to it, particularly since you can blast Maroon 5 through your earbuds and nobody’s the wiser.
While yesterday was a complete wash in the Kindness department, I did learn many valuable lessons and will hold on to them. Keeping what you’ve learned can be as important as finding your inner nice-person and making peace with your Personal Deity. If I hadn’t learned the lesson this time, I’d be doomed to repeat it, with even more dire results. I learned how important it is to recognize your personal limits. Pushing yourself beyond what you can handle gives no-one anything good in you and threatens the relationships of the people you care most about. Even small things, like washing your hands for a few extra minutes, can help bring you back down to a level where you can control yourself. Once you’re stable and can finish whatever projects you were doing, get yourself out of there and find your release in something positive. I myself consider video games to be a favorite outlet. Knowing I can put what I’ve experienced into words and post them for my future self to look at also helps make a huge difference. Creative outlets run the gamut from writing to cooking. Creation has its own positive energies that soak up everything you’re feeling or repressing and turn them into delicious soups or gorgeous statues. The process gives you purpose and meaning beyond your 9-to-5 job. It lets you carve out a more unique box for yourself that nobody else can fit in.
Today I’ve so far practiced laughter and smiling. Thankfully they’ve all just sort of bubbled up from within. Being in the “be nice” frame of mind seems to bring out all those inner pockets of happiness and make the people around feel the same. In fact, while I don’t necessarily “blame” it on my attempts at bettering, last night the hubby had a VERY interesting reaction to my usual inanities. Instead of his invisible eye-roll, he GIGGLED. My husband is not known for his great bouts of laughter, but the man could not stop laughing last night! It could have been punchiness, but I prefer to think it was residual effects of the freedom felt in letting the past go and holding on to the here and now. The future is important too, but it can change before you even get there, so concentrating on where you are is far more important than where you’ll be. I felt horrible that I’d let a friend down so personally yesterday, but I couldn’t do anything except apologize and learn from it. It’s something I MIGHT repeat, but I don’t WANT to, and I’ll make sure I know where I’m headed before letting myself tirade like that again. It is much harder for her to let it go when someone basically says she’s something she isn’t. Compounded by my inability to remember what I’ve just said let alone something that happened earlier this year, I was on a road hell-bent for destruction. She’s a beautiful person and nothing I said was true. For whatever reason I thought pounding ideals into her through the use of metaphor would have a positive effect. Turned out she already felt the same way, but I didn’t recognize that until it was too late to just apologize. In the mean time, I thought I’d share with my readers so they could try to head off their own high-speed collisions through some positive outlets. Consider this an act of kindness, and I hope it helps someone down the line like it would’ve helped me yesterday.
We took a co-worker to a good-bye lunch today at a delicious-smelling Italian restaurant near work. The instant I walked in the scent of garlic, butter and fresh-baked bread hit my nose. As I mentioned a few blogs ago, I’m one of those evil LCers, so bread is one of the no-nos in my diet. With a nephew’s birthday party coming up soon along with the weekend, my mind naturally switched to “bah, who needs a diet” mode. As I sat down, a co-worker moved toward his chair and commented, “Have you lost weight?” My quick denial (a pound isn’t much) prompted his continued confirmation of the weight loss. Because of that man, my menu selection reverted back to the salad I’d decided on before even getting to the restaurant. As it turned out, two other co-workers were also doing LC and we all discussed our favorite foods (while munching lettuce like rabbits). Apparently even without conscious effort, being in “kindness mode” makes everything brighter and unites people who otherwise wouldn’t even know they were on the same page.