This morning, my husband was telling me about how “pissed” he was because he ran out of printer paper at work, and had to print a 60-page deal for a client on letterhead, and now he’s out of letterhead, too.
So I responded, “I can see how you would be disappointed, but why would you be pissed? I mean, doesn’t being pissed imply being pissed at someone? How can you be pissed in general?”
To which he replied, “Clearly, you don’t know much about being pissed. Maybe you should Google it.”
No, maybe YOU should Google it, and find this post!
I was trying to make a point, and I guess I was being too subtle. Here is my point, and it has nothing to do with running out of paper. If you’re angry and pissed off at no one in particular, then really, it seems to me, you’re either pissed at the universe, or, possibly, at yourself. Now, being pissed at yourself is counterproductive. It does you no good whatsoever and is actually a form of self-sabotage. So, let’s set aside self-flagellation as an option right now. Throw out your whips and your hair shirts and don’t buy any new ones.
Being pissed at the universe, on the other hand, is, if possible, even MORE counterproductive than being pissed at yourself. The universe doesn’t understand negative words like “no” and “not.” So if you are saying to the universe, “this is NOT okay! this is DEFINITELY not okay!”, what it hears is: “This is okay!” “This is DEFINITELY okay!” It thinks you want more of the same, and that’s what it brings you.
Now, you might think this is bullshit or psychobabble. But, ask yourself how many people have an easy time hearing the word “no.” People don’t like to take no for an answer, and they don’t hear what they don’t want to hear. There are whole books about how to say no and be heard–and usually, the only way to have your no heard is to say yes to something else. In business, it’s more effective to say “my next available opening is Thursday,” than it is to say “I am closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays,” for example. Or, to use another common example, if “no, I don’t want to have sex,” doesn’t get heard, an alternative wording that might work well is “BACK OFF! LEAVE ME ALONE!” That way you’ve replaced a negative (don’t do this) with a positive (do that). I’m not making excuses for people who don’t hear the word “no,” however–just trying to give you a tool to help you to encourage people to hear it.
Another way to look at it is this: the intensity of your reaction is often more noticeable than its content. If someone meets you on a day when you’re pissed, they will remember that you were pissed, but maybe not why. It’s hard to say how that might affect you, but, it seems likely that your underlying message will come through garbled or won’t come through at all. As if you were a radio and all anyone could get from you was static.
And by the way, on a day like that, chances are that all you will get from yourself is static, too. You’ll come home tired and not having gotten much done. And, maybe, still pissed.
On the other hand. If you say yes to something, if you express gratitude, if you broadcast “I am so thankful” at the universe, your message, the thing that you are grateful for, tends to come through loud and clear. The universe understands that, and it gets that you might want more of whatever you’re so grateful for. That’s why people will tell you to have an “attitude of gratitude.” It’s not just a bumper sticker. It’s magic. It works.
So please try not to be pissed at the universe. I know that’s easier said than done. If it helps, imagine the universe as a big cheerful dog. You want to say to it, “who’s a good universe? You are! Yes, you are! What a good, good universe! Yes, we know what a good universe you are!” That’s how you get the universe to wag its tail at you and lick your face. It might not solve all your problems. But it will cheer you up! And that’s not nothing.