Monday, November 24, 2008

Internal Joy, aka the Positive Mental Attitude

Typically, extraordinarily happy people make me fantasize about performing violent acts. I'm talking about the kind with one emotion, crazy happy, bubble headed dorks who are just always...happy. The kind that are borderline insane, and they always have a ridiculous smile on their faces.

You just know they're not really that happy, all the damn time. There has to be some psychosis there, just under the surface.

Lately, as I don my "management mask" for work, I've had the fake happy. The kind you have to portray to your coworkers and subordinates when you're supposed to pretend like everything's okay, because attitude is everything and there's no "I" in "team" and every other crappy team building slogan you've ever been forced to memorize. You know...the McCain kind of smile. The kind that looks like it just has to hurt. The kind of smile that makes a little crackle noise, because it took every muscle in your face straining at full capacity to make it happen. It has somewhat resembled the psycho happy, just not as ridiculous.

This weekend I became fully aware of internal joy. Not mine (yet), but someone elses. I've known this woman - we'll call her Monica - for years, and always been aware of her positive attitude, but observing her Saturday drove it all home.

I volunteered to proctor a certification exam this weekend. I'd done it in shorter stints before, and if you've never proctored a four and a half hour exam before I can describe it to you pretty easily: Four and one half hours of the equivalent to watching paint dry or grass grow. Part of the duties of the proctor include watching examinees to ensure that they don't attempt any mischief. (I added the duties to seem less stalkerish - I don't just stare at people.) I suffer from ADHD, so by the time it was over I was ready to run around the parking lot a few times and take the building down block by block, but I digress...

Monica took the exam this weekend. Monica is always positive, supportive and nurturing. She very rarely complains, and she always tries to find the good in any situation. She's what I aspire to be in the emotional health spectrum.

I watched her take the exam this weekend, and do you know that during times of such concentration and frustration, computing accounting equations, she still smiled and had a calm and peaceful demeanor? Her calculator stopped working mid-exam, and she STILL maintained that inner peace.

In the recent past, I described my current work situation to her, and she helped me to see how the huge positives outweighed the one negative by quoting one of Covey's messages in Seven Habits.

I want to be that. I want to be wise and serene and peaceful. I want my current situations to have less of a negative impact on my behavior and demeanor than they do now. I don't want to be Snatchy McGrouchypants, and I'm tired of allowing others' actions dictate my mood.

Is that a superpower, or is that Prozac? Can someone fill me in?


Remo said...

My guess as to the source of her perpetual happiness and seemingly enlightened spirit?

Ben-Wa balls and a quart of vodka in her purse.

It worked for my ex-wife.

cw2smom said...

She's an exception to the rule, but something we should all aspire to in our lives! I am certainly trying! Detachment, not having expectations of others...which is really hard to do in the workplace, and minding my own business (via Al Anon teachings and self-help books) has saved my sanity. It's so nice to be able to just say..."Whatever" and not let anyone ruin my day! Best wishes as you work toward such enlightenment! Lisa

Indigo said...

I don't have a clue, has to be prozac. I tend to find it easy to provide some sense of calm and happiness for everyone else...Me? I'm meditating, candles burning, cursing the fact it's so easy to attain that place for someone else.

If it's any consolance. This post gave me a smile, your not alone in wanting to kill the happy, happy, joy, joy people. Hell Jello befuddles me *winks*...

Have a glorious Thanksgiving dear friend. (Hugs)Indigo