Monday, March 23, 2009

Those "Special" E-Mails

So... I get these e-mails from my mother and others that talk about the "Secret to Happiness" or "The Key to a Happy Life" and such... the inspirational messages meant to remind someone who is depressed and focusing too much on the particulars of life to enjoy the little things and remember that that's what life is all about.

Forgive me if I offend here but... this feels a little like preaching to the choir. Also, in my case, it tends to reinforce the idea that I'm not happy. The logic goes something like this: "Everyone keeps telling me to cheer up. So it must appear to them that I'm not happy. There are several indicators here (i.e. everyone who keeps offering me well-wishes). Perhaps I'm not happy after all. I must not be happy or otherwise people wouldn't be trying to cheer me up. It would be counter-productive for someone to waste their time cheering up a happy person. I guess I'm not happy after all."

Yes, I'm getting tired of people trying to cheer me up about things that just happen in life to everyone. It seems like a never-ending cycle. It's like getting "Get Well Soon" cards ALL the time ... even though I'm out of the hospital. We don't do that... so why keep sending these inordinately sappy greetings to remind me to be happy? Just dumb, if you ask me.

Now, before I step on some toes here (too late!) let me say that I know that perception is everything. If someone is perceived as being unhappy, then those who care about that someone will do everything their power to lift that someone's spirits. It's a natural reaction. So once again, the key here is perception.

I think in reality people just like to have those happy, fun interactions with each other. If someone is in a "blah" mood, or they're tired or sore or achey or something like that, that doesn't necessarily mean they're unhappy. It's a very different situation.

So how do we create that happy, fun interaction with people without being "inspirational?" Easy... make them laugh. Engage their creativity. Pique their interest. Reminding someone that a half-empty glass is the same thing as a half-full glass does little more than annoy someone. Complaints about life's mundanities require distraction or assistance with resolutions for the mundanities, not simple platitudes pulled from some deep-thinker's ass.

Challenge me! Redirect me! Either provide me with a solution that engages my curiosity or provide me a temporary distraction from that which is occupying my thoughts. The first is a more direct approach and may not always work. If you're met with comments like "I know, it's just..." then more than likely I've already solved the problem and I'm just tired of thinking about it at the moment but can't seem to motivate myself. Proper motivation should be personalized based on what you know of me... not simple catch-phrases. And again, if all else fails, treat my mind to a break for a while. I'll regroup on the issue at hand later once I've had my fun.

For my own situation regarding these inspirational thoughts, I'm trying to alter my own perception and regard these as the emotional directive that prompted the sender to send it in the first place. Yeah... I'm gonna say it... "It's the thought that counts" *cringe*

So now that I've broken the very rule I laid down for everyone else, I'll close this diatribe and get some work done.


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