I’ve been reading a book in between bites of lunch the past week on how to find joy at work. Now, let me pause right here and say I’m not unhappy with my day job–this book was a Christmas gift given to our staff a few years back. Yep, just now getting to it. Have you seen my TBR list?!
Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m not the fastest reader, either. Not a good thing for someone who spends so much time writing and having to re-read and edit their work. But… oops, I did it again:
I labeled something as “good” (or really, in this case, “bad”).
So? Well, this book I’m reading (which I am not going to name, because honestly? I’m not sure I’m fully buying into its message just yet) is pretty upbeat. Like, annoyingly so. Ha, so if you think MY blog is upbeat, this is like taking a bowl of Frosted Flakes and adding a few more cups of sugar to it. Kinda hard to choke down at times.
In all fairness, the first few chapters were easy enough to follow. Trying to see the best in situations, trying not to get too focused on the difficult/petty stuff, cutting people some slack (we don’t know what struggles they’re walking through), yadda yadda yadda. But then the author suggested that we stop labeling life events as good and/or bad aaaaaand they lost me.
No labeling? Ever?
Have to meet with a coworker you can’t stand? Don’t say it’s bad, it just is what it is.
Need a root canal? Don’t label as bad, it could lead to other opportunities.
Car breaks down? Don’t think of it as bad, it’s just how life goes sometimes.
Uh, no. Sorry. Even upbeat me is struggling with this one. Some things in life are really good, and some are really bad, no matter how you spin it.
As alien as this concept is, it HAS slowed me from making snap decisions. I’ve been trying to catch myself when I feel a label slipping into my thoughts, and then double-checking it.
IS it horrible that I have to meet w/ a coworker I don’t particularly care for? It doesn’t have to be I suppose. I mean, I could always picture them with a banana sticking out their ear or something to distract myself from overthinking.
IS getting a root canal a bad thing? Sorry, I’m still going with hell yes on that one. LOL But it WOULD give me the opportunity to get my nitrous oxide fix, so there is that…
IS my car breaking down a bad thing? Well, let’s just hope it doesn’t. But if it does, please at least let the tow truck guy be cute…
But this works on the little things, too. Here in Indiana, our weather has been nuts all year. Winter forever, spring for like a day, and then wham! summer heat. Now we’re stuck in a monsoon or something. Last weekend, the rain began. And while I love cheering from the soccer sidelines, I’d prefer to do it without juggling umbrellas and rain gear. So when I woke to the sounds of thunder and pouring rain, I groaned (and silently hoped the games would get cancelled … we have a built in rain out date, after all.) Alas, the games were only postponed.
BUT, rather than label the upcoming outing as a bust before I rolled out of bed, I decided to reserve judgment on it. I mean, why waste energy building up this crappy image of how the walk from the car to the sideline will be a sloppy, soggy mess and my shoes will get soaked so maybe I should just wear flip flops but no I shouldn’t do that because it’ll probably rain again and then I won’t be able to run as fast to get back to the car and by then we’ll all be soaked and I’ll need to put a towel down on the seats in the car and oh man, my son’s stinky cleats are really gonna smell now and……..
See how exhausting that negative thinking can be? Instead, I turned my brain off, drank my coffee, got the youngest out the door, and you know what?
The sun came out.
Even better? They won their game.
Now, in my mind, the outcome (sunny day) WAS good. And, being the competitive sort that I am, the win was too. So I’m giving myself a bit of creative interpretation with this book I’m reading to say, if it’s good, it’s okay to acknowledge that. But maybe instead of assuming the worst, or assuming less-than-good, we just … stop assuming. Let what comes our way, come our way. How we choose to react is up to us.
And really, isn’t that the hardest part of all?
Or maybe the hardest part will be me finishing this book, but I’ll give it a try. Who knows, maybe there’s something else tucked away in there that will give me more ah-ha moments. Maybe not. But trust me, I won’t call it good or bad. I’ll just call it done. 😉
Have a great week, everyone, and watch your labels. They just might be causing you more grief than necessary…