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Put a smile on your face…

23/08/2010

Brian told me this weekend that he’s buying me a pair of boots to go with my new nickname: Sour Puss In Boots.

“I don’t know why you’re so stressed all the time,” he said. “You get so mad over little stuff.”

Saturday was an emotional day for me — one of those “I can’t explain why, but I’m going to sweat the small stuff”, tear duct-cleansing days where I just felt like crying at the drop of a hat. Good or bad, the “little stuff” would cause a momentary meltdown. This is the stuff of every blog I enjoy reading, every article on The Frisky that deals with how to communicate with your significant other and what happens when communications break down — that is, I couldn’t make him understand. Because as anybody who knows Brian has already gathered, the only thing that visibly pisses him off is when his car isn’t working.

Trying to explain the unexplainable did, fortunately, lead to the sort of discussion I wish we would have more often. I love that Brian is so easygoing and slow to anger…most of the time. The upside to that is obvious: one of us is typically calm enough to chill the other one out. The downside, however, is that he’s reluctant to speak up when there really is a problem. Instead he chooses to employ his typical strategy, which can sometimes lead to disastrous results. (Hello, we broke up for a month.)

For example, he told me that the only time he’s really unhappy is when I’m unhappy. As sweet a sentiment as that is, it causes both of us a lot of unneeded stress. I’ve never been the type of person who lets things just roll off my back. I have to chew on a problem, examine it from every angle, and talk it into the ground — and even that doesn’t always work. Now, I have the added guilt of knowing that I’m poisoning both of us and what we have by getting as angry as I do.

Let’s be clear — I have every right to feel angry, and to dislike some things in my life. Nobody should be expected to be 100 per cent happy and chipper all of the time. (In fact, I think I would be bored if I was…) However, I know that Brian is also right. There are some things that anger me when I should let them go — they won’t change my life, and my anger won’t change the circumstances. There are moments when I find myself absolutely seething with frustration, only to look back ten minutes or an hour later and forgetting what exactly pissed me off in the first place. By allowing that to happen, I’m actually making my “legitimate” anger far less effective, because it’s easy to blow it off and say “she’s always angry, what now?”

I’m doing what I can to tackle the legitimate obstacles in my life, so now it’s time to tackle my outlook. I promised, and I’m reaffirming it here, that I will count to 10 before I respond to things that bother me. I may not be able to let things roll off, but I’ll work on brushing them off and eventually ignoring the minor irritants. Most importantly, instead of reflecting anger and irritation, I will reflect joy and satisfaction with the parts of my life that make me down-in-the-gut happy — Brian being first and foremost among them.

Maybe he’ll still buy me the boots, though.

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