It’s summertime! Time for road trips, festivals and family outings—as well as new experiences, late nights and early mornings.
This is a beautiful time to step away from the hum-drum of everyday life and really dive into our highest, most radiant self. When we step away from our routines, we can cultivate the qualities and life we desire, by focusing on our own unique gifts, traits and life blessings.
We can establish new practices to live by from the best parts of ourselves, and find the space to hold the goals we want for ourselves. This is the essence of the Law of Radiance.
But it is also a time that is often filled with traveling stress. We don’t have our kitchens (or coffee/tea pots) near by. We step away from our body’s happy schedules. Not to mention, we often are gifted with a constant togetherness, which can be overwhelming, even for the most extroverted, people-loving person. (Me!)
This makes it prime time for grumpiness.
Whether we are working long hours, traveling across the country or feeling pressure from work or our partners—there are times when we may get really tired and grumpy. (Or sometimes we may get hungry and grumpy—aka “Hangry.”)
Sometimes we are just plain mad at the world. In these moments, we are not acting anywhere close to our highest, most radiant self—the one filled with gifts, talents, beauty and love.
Instead, we are acting from our close-to-lowest self—the one who doesn’t care about anything but our own basic needs. The one who does not help us build stronger, more loving relationships, but rather can break down the love and trust and joy we have built and want to cultivate. The one who is not creative and responsive—but rather is insecure, pessimistic, discouraged, and discouraging.
When we are grumpy, we lose our filter and say things we don’t mean. Or we say things that we do mean, but we say them in a mean way. We lose our commitment to use kind words. We get overcome with the grumpy monster and our radiant self becomes hidden.
One of the hardest things to do when we are grumpy is to contain our grumpiness and let it pass—before we do any real damage to ourselves or our relationships. But the good news is there are some things we can do to help ourselves—and our loved ones—when the bad mood begins to take the wheel.
Here are a few tactics to help navigate those moments of crankiness, so that we can soon be back on our radiant, loving path:
1. Preventing the grumpies from taking over in the first place.
This seems easy enough, but it takes advance planning—communicate your needs to those around you. For me, I need to bring snacks wherever I go and take lunch breaks—but I don’t always remember to. I get busy and time flies—I’m not home, and I think it will be fine, until it is totally not fine and I spiral downward.
Only you know what you need—those essentials you can’t compromise—whether it’s time alone, a morning run, caffeine, prayer, meditation, Game of Thrones, yoga, food or sleep. Whatever it is we need, we must do better for ourselves, and ask others to support us in doing better.
By preventing ourselves from getting grumpy—by taking care in the ways that we know are important to our emotional state of wellbeing—we can save ourselves and our loved ones all kinds of grief.
2. Take a break.
Sometimes we may not realize it, but what we really need when we are having a grumpy breakdown is a break from everyone and everything.
Take a moment to get out of the situation and be by yourself. Take a few moments to reconnect to yourself. Say a prayer or do a little meditation. Take a walk alone. Step away from your loved one to remember how much you love them, even if they did just spend the last five hours driving you completely insane. Take a break to get some peace and quiet in your heart, so you can come back with it shining.
3. Start Over.
This is when we are already in deep—we are cranky, hungry, tired and upset. We are short with our partners, our children, our traveling companions or with total strangers who happen to cross our paths.
We feel out of control and guilty about what we just said (or at least we know we will feel bad about it later, even though we are determined to “be right” in that moment). We feel like we are past the point of no return here—but we aren’t. At any moment, we can get a grip and start over.
Here’s an effective way to “win” an argument—simply end it. Ask for others to let you start over, or join you in starting over. And apologize—there’s nothing much more disarming than that. Extra bonus points if a hug accompanies your request.
Just try again. Sure, everyone remembers what you just said and how you acted, but they want you to do better too. So try it—begin again, and this time let your radiance guide your words and actions.
4. Have a mantra ready.
Have a pre-programmed mantra you can say to yourself in challenging times. During those moments when you feel like your brain is just not thinking clearly, you’ll have something to grasp onto—a little reminder to help create a window for your highest self to shine through.
Maybe your mantra could be “In this moment now, I am thankful.” Perhaps it could be, “I see love in all places” or “I am radiate love and acceptance” or “Even now, I choose love.”
You could even just repeat four or five of your best qualities in a sing-song voice. It’s really tough to remain grumpy when you repeat your best qualities ten times in a happy voice: “Patient, friendly, loving, creative, insightful.”
Choose a mantra that resonates with you, and say it to yourself over and over when you are battling with the grumpies. (And say it when you’re not battling with the grumpies—to help get it programmed into your
head—so when you are grumpy you will remember to use it.) I write my mantras and key words on post-it notes and stick them on my bathroom mirror and computer monitor—great little reminders I’ll see throughout the day.
5. Give someone a hug.
Hugging is powerful, and slow hugs are even better. Hugging brings us right back to our priorities—to give and receive love. Hugging helps us get back to our radiance in an instant.
We are actively connecting with the love and light within and giving it to someone else. And what we are giving to anther, we are also giving to ourselves. Hugging can help interrupt the cycle of grumpiness, so give someone a hug!
6. When you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Seriously, take a deep breath and just be quiet. Sometimes there are moments when we just really need to do what grandma always said, and bite our tongue. You will save yourself and others a lot of pain and disappointment if you can just manage to not say mean things when you are feeling grumpy.
If you can’t say anything encouraging, kind or productive—and you’re feeling out of control and cranky, like you just want to be alone in your bed with a cheese pizza—one of the best things you can do is just to remain silent until the moment passes.
7. Forgive yourself and others.
This can be a hard one when you’ve let yourself down. You promised yourself you’d stay in a good mood—eat snacks and get good rest—but now you’ve gone and thrown all of that away. You’re cranky, irritable and annoying to everyone around you.
Perhaps you’ve been short with your loved ones, complained about something that bothered you and blew it way out of proportion. Again, no excuses here for poor behavior, but there’s no need to hold a grudge against yourself. Try to be understanding and compassionate.
We all say things we don’t mean sometimes. It hurts, it sucks and we all wish we could take it back. Forgive yourself, and forgive your loved ones. Be patient and loving and gentle with yourself and with others.
We all have moments of grumpiness, but they are only temporary. The better can we identify them, the easier it is to move through them with gentleness, compassion and patience.
Allowing the grumpiness to pass with self care and kindness, eases our path back to radiance.
Author: Betsy Havens
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Flickr/JD Hancock