The Difference Between the Curmudgeons and the Serene
Have you ever noticed how many unhappy people there are in
this world of ours? Almost every time I venture out I come
in contact with them. You see them in the stores, the
market, on the roads ~ everywhere. They are the ones who
don't seem to know how to look pleasant. Their faces are
scrunched up in ugly frowns, they sigh and grumble a lot.
They're rude to store clerks and restaurant servers. They
honk their horns if traffic doesn't move fast enough to
suit them. They let the door slam in your face as you enter
a store. They yell at their children and lose their tempers
if they are made to wait.
They seem to be chronically angry. Nothing seems to please
them. What's wrong with them?
Maybe their lives haven't turned out the way they had
planned ~ maybe the stress of everyday living is too much
for them ~ maybe they hold bitterness and resentment inside
until it becomes visible for all to see. And ~ maybe a few
of them are just having a bad day.
When you meet these kinds of people your first inclination
is to stay as far away from them as possible. That's
probably the safest thing to do! ; ) But sometimes, if you
make an effort to talk with them, maybe just smile and say
hello, you find their countenance changes ~ they almost
seem surprised that anyone would make the effort to connect
with them. Their faces soften and they smile back at you.
At times just saying "hi" to one of these people can start
a pleasant conversation.
One day at the grocery store I happened to get a cashier
who really looked surly! I asked her if she was having a
bad day. That started a ten minute conversation in which
she told me she had been working 16 straight days without
a break; that she was getting married in a month and had
a million things left to do for the wedding. As she talked
she became more animated and began to smile. As I left, I
noticed she greeted the customer in line behind me in a
pleasant, happy voice.
Maybe the fact that someone took the time to speak with her
and was willing to listen to her story was enough to make
her feel a little better. Sometimes we all feel isolated
from our fellow man. We focus so intently on what's wrong
with our lives, with our world, that we fail to see the
goodness around us. All of our negative thinking makes us
miserable and that's the face we present to others. We may
not even be aware of what we're doing or how we appear.
When that happens all it may take to bring us out of our
self-imposed misery is a kind word from someone, even a
We're told that, in large part, we create our own
unhappiness. I believe that's true. Whether we want to
believe it or not, our attitudes play a significant role in
how happy or unhappy we are. There are people who can take
things in stride that would bring others to their knees.
What's the difference between the two? Maybe it's as simple
as the way people react to the things that happen in their
lives. Some people look at problems as challenges, others
look at them as roadblocks. The first group finds ways to
resolve issues, the second group develops a defeatist
attitude and doesn't even try.
When we come up against an obstacle we have a choice. We
can whine about how unfair it is or we can do something to
remove it. It's our decision. If we choose to do nothing,
nothing will be accomplished and we'll fail to progress
beyond that point. If we continually choose to do nothing
we end up with a life of frustration and broken dreams. Our
self esteem plummets and we see ourselves as losers. Or, we
may feel victimized and become resentful and bitter. Either
way we're going to miss out on much of the goodness life
has to offer.
We have the power to literally change our lives. All we
have to do is change our attitudes toward life. Making the
changes isn't always easy but it can be done. I'm living
proof of that. I used to be very negative, always focusing
on the bad rather than the good. I was the proverbial
"glass half empty" type of person. That kind of attitude is
self-perpetuating unless you make a decision to change it
and start concentrating on the good things that happen.
No life is without its bumps and sometimes it seems like
you're driving over boulders, but that's okay. Peter
Marshall wrote, "When we long for life without
difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary
winds and diamonds are made under pressure." We have to
accept those bumps and feel confident that they will help
us grow stronger.
We all have blessings to be grateful for ~ it's those we
must rely on to support us when we hit a rough patch on our
journey. It's up to us to make the best of bad situations
and develop the ability to see life as an endless stream of
wonderful possibilities. To react in any other way
drastically limits our capacity for joy and happiness.
That being said, it's up to all of us to do what we can to
make it easier for others to see the positive side of life.
Not only does it help them, it makes us feel better too. So
next time you see someone who looks like a thundercloud,
summon up your courage, stand tall and make a simple human
You can make a difference.
Linda Offenheiser is an online copywriter and offline wife, mother and grandmother. She loves to share some of the life lessons she's learned along the way. You can read more at www.touchastar.blogspot.com">Northern Reflections. For a simple way to make a difference in another's life visit www.NoCostCardDemo.com">Send Out Cards. This automated greeting card system makes staying in touch easy and inexpensive.