Disneyland. The happiest place on earth. And who just got back from spending a full three days there? That’s right folks, I did! It was an incredible three days with family, made even better by the fact that Isaac was content and easy to console the whole time. A happy baby means a happy momma!
You know, being called “the happiest place on earth” and all, I think I had this incredibly imaginative expectation that everyone at the park would be walking around, smiling and looking genuinely joyous. While there is so much fun to be had there, the reality of it is that trying to wrangle in over-excited or mischievous children, waiting in hour-long lines (we never had to do much of that, thanks to my very Disney-keen brother and sister-in-law), and squeezing your way through dense crowds of people can challenge anyone’s sense of happiness in a day.
I know mine was challenged. While there, I had spent a considerable amount of time contemplating some of the struggles I have been having these past couple of weeks, at the top of which is what seems to be an intense, anger-inducing sense of stress. Like, I’ve had far too many moments recently where I get so crazily stressed by something relatively small, that I feel as if the only way to release my inner tension is to scream nasty, mean, profanity-filled things at the closest living target. My husband. Who, by the way, would not in the least bit deserve that kind of lashing out. He literally spent at least an hour thoroughly cleaning up the entirety of my regurgitated lunch (from a bout of the flu) on the way home from the “happiest place on earth”…without one single complaint. And with extreme sensitivity towards my dignity (or lack of) in that moment. He’s about as perfect as they come.
I however, am very much so not. Like I said, I sometimes want to scream at this angel of a human being. Yeah, Heather’s a little crazy, everyone. I just miraculously still manage to keep it in my head…for the most part. Again, I am NOT perfect. The first day and a half at Disneyland, while fun, triggered that “stress” that I mentioned in the paragraph above. And while he says he didn’t notice, I know for certain that at times my words to my husband lacked love and respect. I was VERY aware of it.
I was also aware of the fact that something needed to change. Yeah, my attitude (*said with attitude*). My emotions and stress had nothing to do with anything that my husband did or said. And my lack of respectful communication did nothing to help. Then somehow I came up with a useful idea. What if every time I started feeling frustrated, I gave my husband a hug or a kiss before trying to tell him what I needed him to do. My frustration would be my cue to be sweet. I’ll tell you what, the idea of that alone was MAGICAL. That simple thought of desiring to be kinder allowed me to actually BE kinder. I can’t say that I did that perfectly, but it’s something I am continuing to put into practice. Because who wouldn’t like a break from all the negative and stressful thinking that so readily plagues our brains?
This kind of got me thinking about something though. I want to propose to you that maybe one of the most beautiful things, as well as one of the most abused things, that we have to offer other people is the way we treat them.
I know personally that it’s really easy to let our emotions get the best of us. It’s easy to speak without thinking, as if hurting someone else will help us to not feel so hurt. But who of us ever actually feels better when we do? It’s also really easy to walk past a stranger without a smile to offer because we’re too stressed with our own lives to even look at another life. But when did that ever help you or that stranger feel a little less lonely? When I intentionally treat someone poorly because of my own crap (for lack of a better word), I find myself just as I did on that car ride back from Disneyland—surrounded by, and dripping in, my own vomit. Gruesome, I know, but very accurate. It leaves me with a whole new and often larger mess to clean up.
So here’s my challenge to you, and I promise you it won’t be easy. But it will be worth it. Let your frustration be your cue to be sweet. Give a smile instead of a scowl. Give a hug instead of hurtful words. Kiss your husband (or wife) instead of killing them. And please, please, PLEASE take a deep breath and a moment to think before you speak.
You are too wildly beautiful to treat others poorly, and they are too wildly beautiful to be treated as such.
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