We are in a constant state of bumping, crashing, and smooshing against each other as we try to navigate life. I think this is fairly extensively, and mutually understood by anyone that hasn’t exiled themselves to hermitage. However, even if we know and realize the fact that if we all live on earth, and are going to experience friction, it can still be hard to constantly consider someone else’s feelings, or realize that maybe, just like we all do sometimes, they forgot to consider yours.
This week I decided to write about situational abrasion, because it’s such a huge part of miscommunicating and as such, creates a lot of unnecessary grumpiness. Sometimes we’re flying through 643 emails in thirty seconds and don't have the chance to write an equally thoughtful response, or even think about what an equivalent response would be. Maybe you’ve poured your heart out about the plight of the Siberian Yak to your best friend, and they write back “Nice, dude.” It doesn’t mean they love you any less, it probably means that at that moment, the Siberian Yak won’t fit into a day that’s probably already overly full.
When what we experience is significantly different than our expectations, we have a moment of shell shock.
“But, but you can’t just ignore that the Yak’s natural feeding tendencies are being affected by displaced turtle migration paths!”
However, we also need to give some thought to where the other person’s priorities are at that moment, and where they’re at mentally. The same can be said about having your head bitten off by someone who is having a bad day, and you just happened to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time. No one likes to be snapped at, but if you really think about it, and can’t come up with any grievous sins you’ve committed, it’s ok to assume that it wasn’t your fault.
Conversely, if you’re having a bad day, it’s your responsibility to do your best not to take it out on anyone, especially innocent bystanders. If you go around looking for excuses or occasions to take out all your frustrations on the next person that does something wrong, you’re really only digging yourself a hole, and waiting to pull them down into it with you. *Please see footnote. My point is, if you’re having a bad day, a good way to fix it, is to help someone else have a really good day. You will find that creating positivity is a lot better cure to the blues, than spreading the negativity you’re already feeling. If you’re sick, do you feel better if you get other people sick?
If someone does attempt to drag you down into that kind of negativity, you have a few defenses at your disposal.
- Consider the environment they’re experiencing, and how it’s changing their outlook on that day. The way a person feels they’re being treated, can totally change the way they treat other people.
- Let it roll of your shoulders. Maybe it’s not your fault, and it’s not their fault. The best thing you can do is not perpetuate the cycle.
- Sing Build Me Up Buttercup, until they (inevitably) become cheerful.
It can be easy to ruin someone’s day, sometimes as easy as one thoughtless comment or careless action, but it’s also easy to do just the opposite. If you’re on the receiving end, remind yourself that a lot of negativity is spread through consent, and that if you don’t hold these things close to your chest, they can’t affect you. The effect that a statement or action has on you, is contingent on how much you allow it to change the rotation of your world. Be as Teflon is to eggs, be ever mindful of your fellow humans, and consider the Siberian Yak, even if it may not fit into your plans.
*Not an actual hole, unless you are a half man-half ant lion.