Be Happy Anyway

The world today gives us a million reasons to be grouchy.

Be happy anyway.

Things go wrong, despite the best laid plans.

Be happy anyway.

It’s too early in the morning.

Be happy anyway.

Just, be happy anyway.

In the past couple of weeks, I have been both complimented, and criticized.  For the EXACT SAME THING!!!

When I am at school (also known as my job) I am over the top happy.  I am friendly, and welcoming.  I’m that super annoying person that cheerfully greets everyone with a good morning and a smile.  I give students high fives.  I joke with them, laugh with them.  I want them to know, really, truly, honestly know that I am glad they are at school.

It requires a great deal of coffee to be successful at that.  And some days are more successful than others.

But it is absolutely on purpose.

One of my favorite tasks during the day is taking breakfast tickets.  It may seem like a menial task.  But I see it as one of the most important things I do all day long.  And it isn’t making sure that the kiddos are properly entered into the system.  Every single morning, one of the first things they hear when walking into the school building is me.  Me wishing them good morning, calling them by name, and a smile to go along with it.

Because, if you aren’t aware, many kids that eat breakfast at school are doing so because that’s one of the two meals they know they will eat during the day.  Many of these kiddos come from homes (if they can even really be called that) that aren’t, let’s go with ideal.

But when they come to school, I want them to know, to feel, to see that someone cares for them.  And that they are cared for.

That’s the most important thing I can do here.

If they learn something from me, too, that’s great.

So when someone tries to shame me for being happy, I don’t let it get me down.  In a world where there are a million reasons not to smile, I choose to anyway.  When the sun refuses to shine, I am the sunshine.

But let me tell you a little secret.  Some days, I don’t feel like being happy.  But I choose to anyway.  I have for years.  This actually started many years ago, when, in another life, I traveled around the country, and taught Preschool teachers.  Often, when people travel, they are stressed out, and uncomfortable, and grouchy and rude.

I get it, travelling stinks sometimes.

But one year, I made a decision.  I wouldn’t let that be me.  I wouldn’t be the person that was grouchy and rude to my fellow travelers and airport personnel.  It was fantastic.  Because you can really surprise people when you’re actually nice to them.  And you can meet some really interesting and fantastic people along the way.  I remember one time, I had to get my bag searched, because I forgot that I had a bottle of hand sanitizer.  Looking back, I probably should have used it more frequently.  But that’s another issue.  Anyway, I had to have my bag searched.  The TSA agent found that there was nothing nefarious in my purse, and at the end of what must have been a very long day for him, he told me that I was free to go.  As I was collecting my things, I turned to him and smiled, and I told him “thank you, have a nice day” with a huge smile on my face.  The man’s jaw ended up on the floor.

He probably had never been thanked before after searching someone’s bag.  And I was *gasp* actually nice to him!

Seriously folks, it’s not that hard.  Don’t be a sucky human being.

So, yes.  Be nice to other people.

But here it is, are you ready for the big secret???

Being happy, joyful, sunny, welcoming, positive, and uplifting to other people has a side effect.  It makes you feel better about yourself.  When you’re nice to other people, it makes you feel better!

So, when my students get ready to walk in the door, and they’re dragging because they just got up 10 minutes ago, and look like they’re still half asleep, because they are, I’m even more over the top happy to them.  I may even sing and dance.  You never know what might happen.

So go out there, have an awesome and amazing and fantastic Friday, folks!

I Pity the Fool

Compassion: Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortune of others.

Feel compassion, because you never know what the other person is going through.

This is a line that has been said to me many times in my life.  Many. And I would like to think that I try to be a compassionate person.  I realize and understand that the behavior that other people have towards me is not my fault, and that it is merely a reaction to their own life circumstances.

I get it.

That doesn’t mean that I have to enjoy it.

Because I don’t.

I struggle.

There, I said it.  I don’t like to admit it.  But I do. A lot. People suck sometimes.  And I work in a building full of teenagers, who often suck every ounce of compassion, kindness and patience that I have.  So when an adult exhibits behavior worse than that of those teenagers, I am frustrated. Frustrated because they should know better.  Frustrated because they shouldn’t be so selfish. Frustrated because before my day can even begin, they have sucked the compassion and kindness and patience right out of me.

So I have had a rough(ish) week dealing with an adult who tested my limits.

This woman, a co-worker, has tested my patience daily since I started working here.  A know-it-all, who, given the opportunity, will take the information I give her, repeat it back to me as if she just had this profound, life-altering moment of clarity, and will repeat what I just said.  Except this time, of course, she came up with this all on her own.

Those people frustrate me.

A lot.

Please don’t be that person.

Well a week ago, we had a minor confrontation.  I politely stood up for myself. I did not yell.  I did not belittle. But I stood firm. And that might have made her mad.  So mad that she began muttering under her breath, and then refused to acknowledge my existence.

One week later, and my presence has still not been acknowledged.

I honestly do not know what has happened in her life to make her such an unhappy person.  Because before the incident last week, I was already on her bad side. And not because I’m a horrible person that treated her badly.

I am nice, and friendly, and outgoing.  And the students I work with talk to me.  About their life. About their day. About anything.

I don’t treat people badly. At least I try not to.

I’m also happy, and upbeat, and friendly.

Unfortunately, that seems to irritate people that are already unhappy with their life.  So I am not surprised, even though I still don’t understand it.

I don’t understand, because I am not the person that I am because I have an easy and fabulous life, where I have never had one ounce of hardship.

No, no, no.

I am the person that I am, in spite of the struggles and hardships I have been through.  In spite of the struggles and hardships I still go through.

So while I am capable and willing to feel compassion for others, I often struggle because I do not feel the same level of compassion from other people.

But that’s ok.

No, really.  It is.

Because, Mr. T. reference aside, I do not want your pity.  I actually don’t even like the word pity. Especially not in reference to myself.  I don’t want your pity, nor do I need it. And while we should always be compassionate towards others, I really don’t even need that from you.

Why?

Well, let’s take a look at Isaiah 30:18…

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

He will show me compassion!  Whoohoo!

So if you are like me, and struggle with those people in your life who don’t show you any compassion, don’t stoop to their level.  Rise above! Do what the Bible instructs us to do, which is to love other people.

Be the light when there is darkness and negativity all around you.  Shine the light brightly!

Don’t just choose joy, be the joy!

It.  Will.  Spread.