Calm Down

What a difference a day makes.  I often wonder if suicide victims had just waited a day or a week or a month or year, they would have come out from under the cloud of sadness or despair that took their life.

We should refrain from making snap judgments, ever.  We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be dominated by the tyranny of the urgent.

There is a reason that good counsel suggests that we sit on our decisions for a bit.  Even sleep on it.

I recently read something that defined sadness as simply, fullness of experience.  That’s not what we usually understand as sadness.  Rather, it’s despair that defines that feeling of unrecoverable loss of hope.

Either way you describe it, most of these feelings pass, over time.  There is a renewal of hope that shines light on the shadows in most of our lives, if we don’t respond too quickly to the clouds.

I can testify that I have had moments, days, weeks, and even years of despair over this trouble or that problem.  But I have lived long enough and observed my experiences objectively after the fact, to know that usually the next day brings perspective.  Even more poignant, the next year can look massively different than that day, month, or year, of hope deferred.

We all make judgments as we make our way in life. We can be very convincing and so emphatic that our judgments are right, that it is disarming to stand in a different point of view. If we find ourselves disagreeing with an initial judgment that we’ve made, we tend to reject it in a knee-jerk reaction, without consideration of its possible merit.

What if we stood back and observed our judgments with more neutrality, dug a little deeper and saw the situation differently?  We always have options. Objectivity gives us the wherewithal to choose them. This takes practice, practice, and practice, to be conscious of different reactions to the conditions around us, and not just select the first snap judgment that occurs to us.

All too often our snap judgments are negative and carry with them some kind of rejection, hurt, or punishment. If we could only establish the habit of reacting with greater neutrality.  If we could simply observe what is happening and calmly reserve our judgment until we can separate our emotions and behave objectively.

Simply put, calm down.  Actually, it occurs to me that snap judgments are subtly different from gut reactions.  Often, when faced with a decision or a problem to be solved, we have what is known as a gut reaction, or second sense.  We feel we know what to do right away.

This can change, however, if we sit on it for a bit.  Gut reactions are sometimes reliable and wise, but other times they need a little bit of simmering to work their magic.  So why not wait a little for a more objective confirmation of your gut reaction?

The song, “What a difference a day makes,” was written in Spanish in 1934 by Mexican songwriter, Maria Grever and popularized in English by Dinah Washington in 1959.  The lyrics are a study in rhyming, and remind me of verses by Lennie Kravitz, like “yesterday I was blue, today I’m with you….”  However, what a difference a day makes, indeed.

I’m a praying woman.  I have had times of prayer where I am just lollygagging around in the presence of God, and it is truly a joyful, peaceful and uplifting moment for my soul.

After such moments, I begin to assume that life will stay just outside the realm of heaven.  But then, the next day comes and the hammer drops, and it really couldn’t be a worst day.  I never cease to wonder, what happened.

On the other hand, I’ve had bad days where I think it couldn’t get any worse, and the hits just keep on coming.  But the next day “all my troubles seem so far away,” just like Carole King sang, and those troubles have turned into, if not rainbows, then at least partly cloudy.

It occurs to me that very little in this life can be assumed accurately.  We really can’t assume that the content of our lives will be a certain way because of how it was yesterday.

Cause and effect are rarely a proven science.  There are correlations all over the creation but not much valid cause and effect.

A correlation is when something is related to something else, but it’s not proven to be a cause-effect relationship.  For example, someone may be experiencing the blues, and it is raining outside.

There is a correlation between the blues and rainy weather, when they happen at the same time.  But that doesn’t mean that the rain caused the blues.  There are other factors or variables that may have caused the blues in a single human, one of which might be clinical depression, another might be miserable circumstances, etc.  The bottom line is, we can’t blame the rain for our mood, because it didn’t necessarily cause a bad one.

“You make me so mad,” is a pretty much universal exclamation when you’re angry, and someone is nearby.  It’s an assumption of cause-and-effect.

You caused me to become angry.  When that person’s behaviors, actions or personality have irritated you doesn’t mean they made you angry.

You chose to be angry for whatever reason. That reason might be that you haven’t eaten yet and you’re hangry.  That person may have triggered you, from something in your history, but they literally did not make you angry.  That’s a correlation, not cause-and-effect.

So, give it a day, and calm down before you pop an artery.  I can almost guarantee that the next day will be different, at least a little.

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