I am asking this question because I woke up today in a grumpy mood. Why? Who knows. I certainly don’t. Why is it that sometimes we just feel like a grump? I can hear my Mother saying, “If you complain because you don’t have shoes, think about the people who don’t have feet.”. When she would say that to me, it never helped my grumpiness. I didn’t care about those people. I just was concerned about my own problems.
I was once told that the most important friend I had, was a little creature that sat on my shoulder. This little imaginary creature was Death. Death was my most important friend because it was there to remind me how short life really is. This seems like a weird story but it has a lot of truth. If you think about Death as a friendly reminder that life is short, perhaps you won’t stay in a grumpy mood as long.
Sometimes I think people stay grumpy because it seems like it is just easier to be in a bad mood. Look at all the things that are wrong in the world (as my Grandmother would say, the whole blankety blank world is going to hell in a hand basket). There are always plenty of reasons to stay mad or grumpy but who does it hurt? Only yourself. Staying mad and grumpy only hurts the person who is the grump. But your friends, coworkers and family have to tolerate your black cloud and that isn’t fair either.
I think if people want to be grumpy and cranky they should make sure they are away from all other people. But that isn’t what happens. Those grumpy people want to dump their negative feelings on others. Does misery love company? Have you ever been in a situation where everyone is having fun and someone joins the group and instantly the mood changes? Saturday Night Live captured this well with their “Debbie Downer” skits. Debbie Downer always manages to bring up something negative. In life we can avoid those Debbie Downer friends but that is not true at work. It is one thing to be an occasional grump and another to always put a negative slant on the world. I have seen employees that are negative and they have no idea that they are. Other employees avoid them, and they are clueless why.
In the workplace, I see bosses or managers that take their stress out on the employees by being in a bad mood. They are curt in their words, cut people off mid sentence, make difficult demands and act like a brat. These bosses or managers get away with it because they can. But it creates havoc in the workplace. A brilliant man but terrible boss was Steve Jobs. More about that in my next blog.
I just looked at my shoulder and decided I was no longer in a grumpy mood.