So, how many of us have gotten up on the “wrong side of the bed”? That feeling, when you wake, that all is not right in the world. That sense of dread coupled with a strong desire to fall back into bed and sleep it all away. And dare anyone who sees you to be cheery, for they will soon find out that their emotional expression is so wrong right now! Personally I am not at all a morning person, and those who know me understand not to speak to me until I have my coffee. Not that I will snap at them, quite the opposite, I won’t respond; or, if I do, it will be in a series of unrecognizable grunts. It’s not that I get up on the wrong side of the bed every morning, it’s simply that I am not a fan of waking up (I am a fan of being awake and living life, just not a fan of the process of getting to that point).
The way in which we start our day typically carries with us throughout the day. If I wake up in a “bad mood” I will act in that manner for the rest of the day. I will perceive everything and everyone around me in the context of my mood. One of my favorite quotes, from the Talmud, is “we do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.” My inner attitude will color my perception of the world around me. Think about it; if you wake up in a miserable mood yet the sun is out and the birds are singing, you are more apt to say the sun is too bright and those darn birds won’t shut up! Yet another person, waking up in a better mood, happily appreciates the warmth of the sun and the melody of the birds.
It is not the exterior world which is our “problem”; it is our inner world which is at issue. When I was in college working on my undergrad degree one of the people with whom I lived would respond to the statement “good morning” by sternly replying “Don’t tell me what kind of morning to have!” It is scary to imagine what was going on inside of him.
The other day I was reading the comics and came across this Peanuts classic (I find humor to be important in life):
Who doesn’t appreciate Peanuts (ignoring the underlying psychological angst of young children who had absentee parents) and the messages they have offered us through the years. This particular strip rings true. It is not as important how one starts the day as it is how one continues and ends their day. If we agree that it is our inner self clouding our perception of the external world, than all I need to do is change how I feel and my day will be different. The world around me will seem to be a better place.
Of course this is easier said than done, but here are a couple quick tips I have learned over the years:
- Pull over at the nearest rest stop in your life and simply stop.
- Search your inner self to discover what negative thought(s) is interfering with your enjoying life.
- Ask another for help.
- Help another.
- Play music. As mentioned in the comic above, music greatly influences our feelings. What you listen to can and does change your emotions. Try it.
- Re-start your day with a new attitude. Even if you don’t yet believe the new attitude, try it on and see what happens. Remember, the way you feel on the inside influences the outside and vice versa. So even if you don’t believe your new thoughts they will change your perception of the outer world which in turn will influence your inner world.