Changing the Mood or the Love Exercise
This has become a week of exercises. It wasn’t my intention; it just turned out that way. Well I have another one for you, I call this the love exercise and in a minute you’ll find out why.
Have you ever passed those folks who look like life has gotten the best of them, and they intend to take it out on you. You may work with people like this or just pass them on the street. I see them in the airports as both passengers and employees. These folks take their troubles with them everywhere they go. (As I tell my children, I’m not judging, I’m making an observation.) They look mad before you say “hello” and get madder after you do.
“Good Morning.” I say to a bathroom attendant.
“What’s so good about it?” She barks back.
I want to tell her that she has a job indoors that she gets to see people from all over the world and that as the Atlanta airport is a major point of entry to the United States; she is an ambassador. But she’s thinking about the argument she just had with her boyfriend over which Nike sneakers their 5 year old should wear to school. (I know this because I heard her on her cell phone.) She can’t see that there are people from all over the world, because in her job all she sees is their crap; literally.
What if I could help her see? What if you could shape the attitude of those who don’t feel that there is anything good to smile about?
When I moved to the South I learned many things; smile, say “yes, ma’am and yes sir to the people who serve you, even when they are younger than you, and when you see a bunch of men standing around the bed of a pick-up truck, don’t run they’re just talking. One of the most important things I’ve observed is that everyone speaks. It doesn’t matter if they are driving by, or walking, they will acknowledge you and they will try to beat you to it. I once asked my mother about this. She grew up on a farm in the Southern part of Delaware and though it’s in the North, Delaware is a Southern state, with a history of slavery and all. In fact, we often point out that Delaware was the first to get slaves and the last to let them go.
Anyway, my mother told me that the old folks believed that when you speak first, you set the mood of the exchange. If the other person is mad, but you extend joy; you have made that person joyful.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to run around and speak to everyone, but I’d like you to try this exercise throughout the day.
When you cross the path of someone or can see into their eyes, think of something kind that you would wish for them. You can just start with this simple thought; “I wish you peace.”
As you do this, you will find that your mind will begin to create stories about the person’s life. You may imagine that they had a hard day and need rest and so you will wish them rest. Allow your mind to take a brief moment with your “subject” (because this is an exercise) to simply give something without wanting anything in return.
You will be amazed by the outcome for yourself. Even if the person does not change before your eyes, you will have changed in theirs.
What you give out always comes back.
Be you, be well, be Love,
Bertice Berry, PhD