I cannot change the moods or the behavior of others. I can only control how I let those moods and behaviors affect me. Today, however, was a glowing example of how that ideal can radically fail.
If I were superstitious, today would have been my Friday the 13th. My black cat was the neighbors dog, who, first thing this morning, managed to soil, not one but, two pairs of my shorts on my way to work. The ladder I walked under was the exit door from my house. And the broken mirror was the negativity that continued to rain throughout the day like the shards of glass falling from that broken mirror.
I am usually very thick-skinned. Most of the time I can deflect negativity and remain blissfully unaware of the antagonism that tends to eddy in the normally calm waters of my life. But the vortex of that disapproval became too much. I, without my life-preserver, was pulled under and was out of breath.
A little positive reinforcement can go a long way. As an adult with a great deal of life experience under my belt, I know life is unfair and the wheels can fall off the bus at any given second. But to focus solely on the loose lug nut that made the wheel come off is negating the safe driving before that wheel fell off and the work that the bus driver had to do after its liberation to safely get that bus to the shoulder of the road.
Thick skin can actually be quite tenuous and a little praise goes a long way. If criticism is deserved, than criticism should be administered. But if praise is deserved, it should be just as easily passed from the lips of the people who need to say it to the ears of the people who need to hear it.