by Dr. Nancy Buck
Spending time with a person who is in a miserable mood can be a misery.
You mention what a beautiful day you’re both blessed with and your companion mentions the irritating bugs that are so annoying. You smile for no particular reason and your grumble-grouch side kick complains that your ubiquitous joy is another source or irritation. Are you beginning to suspect that your friend is doing everything possible to have you join in the misery?
Is it possible that you are doing everything possible to have your partner join you in joy?
We human beings are a funny lot. Although no one can make us feel happy or miserable, feelings and emotions certainly seem contagious. Hanging around someone who is full of unhappiness and complaints can lead to our own feelings of irritation and upset. It is also possible that spending time with someone who is full of joy and laughter can influence our improved mood.
But if you are dancing and singing, standing on your head and juggling chickens all in an attempt to “cheer”someone’s mood, this will almost always backfire. If a person is committed to or needing to feel unhappy, miserable or grouchy for awhile, there is nothing that anyone can do to change their mind. They have to make this decision and choice themselves.
The one thing that you can do, however, that is kind, loving and respectful is to simply accept that your companion is feeling, thinking and behaving in a bad, sad or complaining mood. You don’t have to like it. And if you feel their mood is “rubbing off”on you, you can choose to temporarily disconnect. But the last thing you should do is to try and “make”them change their mind and mood.
Accepting the feelings of another, whether the other is your child, your parent, your partner or your friend is respectful, kind and loving. Accept that they are feeling this way for their own very good reasons, whether you understand those reasons or not. You can offer a listening ear and an understanding heart, if they want it. But trying to convince them not to feel the way they are is disrespectful, unkind and unloving.
You can contribute to the Mental Health & Happiness of another if you accept that this person is feeling the way they are. You can also contribute to your own Mental Health & Happiness by accepting your own feelings.