One of my co-workers has been working on “finding joy” lately, or, at least on managing her grouch. She is normally a very happy person, always making us smile with unique insights and little stories about happy things like puppies and shopping and her love of a good cookie recipe.
Today, she is having what she calls a case of the “Mean Reds”. She was grouchy, and told us that she had no good reason to be grouchy, so she was grumpy about being grouchy. That’s a lot of grr to go around.
“Do you have a teapot that you make tea in?”
“No, I just boil water in the microwave.”
“But you understand how a teapot works, right?”
“Well, yeah, the water boils, and there’s a whistle for the steam,”
“So, what happens if you block up the vent where the steam comes out?”
“It explodes, right?”
“So, why aren’t you allowed to be grouchy once in a while? We would really appreciate you venting instead of exploding all over the walls back here.”
Cause, I’m a little teapot… short and stout…
I get really confused when I hear people say that they aren’t “allowed” to be grumpy. Why? Are you a Stepford? A robot? A Disney character? No – wait, even Disney allowed a Grumpy character.
So, what’s the problem? Emotions are real, and they span the spectrum between utter joy and complete devastation. We should be allowed, even encouraged, to experience that spectrum in all its fullness. And when the mood strikes, to be able to dive into it for a little while and just be there.
There have been times where I get angry, for no reason in particular that I can point to, just a lot of little things that all added up to one big mass of MAD. My family and I have struck a bargain that when I get like that, I give them a heads-up warning to “Veer clear” for a while, so I don’t snap heads off that don’t deserve it. But, I’m going to be mad, just plain grouchy, for as long as it takes for me to get over it.
And there are times when all I feel like doing is crying, sobbing, weeping. Again, sometimes I have reason, sometimes I don’t. I’m just touchy, rasped raw on the inside, and, while I usually try to save this for after everyone’s gone to bed, sometimes it leaks over onto other times of the day. No help for it *shrug*, I just attempt to keep it to myself, and have my “moment”.
So, when my co-worker today was mad at herself for being mad, I asked her –
“Would you rather be scalding water and metal shrapnel flying everywhere, injuring others? Or a little teapot, just whistling and venting, and waiting to be poured out?”