I was in training on Monday and the lady said something that is so true. After I made my snark remark, I thought long and hard about the truthfulness of what she said.
"Happiness and hugs can be infectious."
My thoughts ran the gamut on this topic. Often times we are the collective attitude of our surroundings. If I am in an environment of joy and laughter, I am typically in the mood to smile and make jokes. If I am in an environment of anger and yelling, I am more apt to join in that. I am not sure if everyone is like this, I am not everyone. At work I may be in a great mood when I walk in the door, but if someone else is in a crap mood the tone in our office tends to gravitate towards the crap, not the good.
My mood often plays off of those around me. If I am in an off mood and join a group of frivolity my mood generally lightens. Likewise if I am in a joyful mood and join a group of tension it does not take long for my mood to darken. Of course that is not always the truth, but a general generality.
I am cautious of the terms "She made me mad!" "He made me lose my temper." etc. No one can make me do anything. I always always have my agency. I choose to get mad. I choose to lose my temper. I choose to smile. I choose to laugh. I choose what I do. Of course others can have a profound impact on me and how I choose to react.
This training I was in was all about Development. Personal, child, and environmental development were all topics of conversation Monday night. Just because I am an adult does not mean I am done developing into who I will be; into who I am. I am always learning, growing, or regressing from my experiences. We had a big discussion about development on a curve. For example, some babies will walk before the average age for children to walk. Some children will learn to write much sooner than the average. Etc. It is not uncommon to develop a skill or attribute on the average, but it is also no uncommon for a skill to be developed much sooner, much later, or not at all. We all develop and grow at our own speed. We talked about mentors and how they can have a profound effect on us individually, possibly without ever intending to mentor us. I have a friend who is an emotional mentor for me. I know I can talk things out with her and work out emotional issues I might be having. She is not a trained professional, she is just someone who listens to me. I have a friend who is so patient and mentors me when I need help singing; she mentors that talent for me. I have a friend who is much younger than I am who is a spiritual giant and mentors me without ever intending to. Human beings never stop learning, developing, teaching, and mentoring. We can learn good AND bad habits throughout a lifetime.
After the class I was in my car waiting to get out of the parking lot and I saw something very interesting. Some people were letting other cars ahead in line, some would not let a car enter the cue. Usually after one person let in a car, the next one would do the same, then the next. Once one person did not let a car in, the next did not, etc. I also saw how the drivers reacted to this. There were some who would wave and acknowledge the kindness, others would not. After a person did not acknowledge the kindness, the next person was less likely to let another car it. Of course I am not a researcher and do not have absolute numbers of data on this, but in the few minutes it took to empty the lot I observed this little phenomenon.
Kindness begets kindness
Rudeness begets rudeness
Compassion begets compassion
Courage begets courage
Anger begets anger
It is the same concepts as "we are what we eat!" What kind of a world do I want to live in? Have you noticed that when someone attacks our country, as a general rule, we get more patriotic? But people also get angry. We want revenge. We must avenge those who were wronged. You hurt our people, we like our people, we will defend our people. An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But then we calm down, we get back to our usual routine. We move on to the next emotion, the next cause.
Happiness and hugs are infectious. When I have a bad day all I need is a good hug from a great friend and it cures what ails me. A kiss from my niece or nephew (who rarely kisses) can turn my cold heart into a fire of love. I love that. Life is hard, there is no doubt. But I want to live in a world of happiness and hugs. I want to be able to spread that around as well. I think life and people are inherently good. I want to spread that goodness around and I want to feed off of it. Happiness is infectious!
(By the way my snark remark after she said 'happiness and hugs can be infectious' was "So is chlamydia.")