I’m a grouch in the morning. There’s no nice way to put it. I can truly be an awful bitch when I wake up. No amount of coffee or Girl Scout Cookies for breakfast is ever going to change that. I’ve tried meditating, I’ve tried exercising, I’ve even tried drinking and nothing changes my attitude during my first 15 minutes of being awake. I battle myself on a daily basis about wanting to call in sick for work. Even on weekends when I can sleep in, I’m still a psycho when I first get up.
I’m a stressing person. From the second my feet hit the floor, I start thinking about all of the stuff I have to do that day and already start worrying. I was in an exceptionally bad mood a few days ago as I was going through the list of things I had to do.
On the way to work, I felt bad about how grouchy I was. I didn’t lash out at my husband or get frustrated with the pets – I just aggressively washed my hair and muttered swear words to myself when I sneezed and my nose started bleeding. I’m usually a really pleasant person once I get through the first 15 minutes of waking up. Sometimes I’m actually that annoyingly cheerful person at the office. I reasoned with myself that I had a stressful day ahead of me with so much to do.
That’s when it hit me.
I have a bad attitude as soon as the alarm clock rings. because of the language I use with myself. I make lists of things I HAVE to do. It makes life seem like a chore. A bother. An inconvenience. I decided when I got to work, I was going to change my language in my head.
Instead of having to work with a girl who tested flu positive whose drug-addicted mother sent her to school anyhow, I had the opportunity to show this girl the compassion that she probably isn’t getting at home. Instead of worrying about getting sick, I was being exposed to the germs to build up my immune system. Okay, you caught me. I didn’t actually think that one.
Instead of having to go to a meeting with my boss, I got to collaborate on a project that will benefit my students.
Instead of forgetting to pack my lunch today, I got to support our cafeteria workers and had the chance to greet my favorite one and ask her about her daughter.
Instead of having to work with a student on his bus safety after school, I was able to teach him skills that will keep him safe on the bus so I can see him tomorrow.
Instead of my coworker coming to my room to complain to me for the third time today, I was her safe place that she could vent. I helped her get through the day.
Instead of some a-hole cutting me off in traffic, I was able to show them how to properly wave, since they obviously thought the middle finger was a proper form of greeting.
Instead of my pets making all kinds of noise as soon as I got home, I was greeted extra loudly by my little family because they were extra excited to see me today.
Instead of my dog farting by me while I type this, I rejoice in the fact that this poor baby, who was abused and was afraid to be touched, is now snuggled up on the couch beside me, sound asleep.
Instead of my husband not helping me with dishes, I had the chance to do a mindless activity to let my brain reset. Lord knows I needed a reset.
Instead of getting annoyed with my cat meowing at the top of his lungs while I try to get ready for bed, I know he is trying to communicate to me that he, also, is excited to go to sleep. Loudly.
Instead of having a teacher spring a test on me at the last minute that I have to accommodate, Thank goodness I am here to do this, because my kids need me!
Instead of having to deal with a student who has had a behavior incident in the bathroom for the 8th time this week, I have the opportunity to reinforce good bathroom behaviors so that maybe someday, I will go a whole day without having to talk about not touching other people.
Some of these were a stretch for me, but you get the picture. I’ve been doing this for 3 days now, and I can honestly say, it takes a lot of time. Sometimes, I have to correct my thinking hours afterwards and remind myself that I’m trying to see the world through a different lens. Sometime’s something happens and I think Oh for Pete’s sake. Sometimes I replace Pete’s name with a word that starts with f. However, I’m seeing a change in my thinking. Today, as soon as the negative thought came to mind, I immediately said, “What opportunity do we have now?” And I’m starting to see the world a little differently.