Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Perpetually Chipper

I get easily excited about things I love. I hum a lot. I have a tendency to be zealous about trying something new. I am a morning person and super chipper at 7:00AM. During my first year of teaching, I would greet my period 1 class enthusiastically to the point where one of my junior girls snidely remarked, "Ms. Edwardson, you are like the most cheerful person in the mornings. Ever. I have a hard time around happy people before 10:00AM. Just an observation." Thank you very much, student of mine. I will take that as a compliment, even if it wasn't intended as one.

I realize that not everyone is like me. Not everyone is perpetually chipper, and over the years, I've had people tell me that it grates on their nerves when I am "so positive about everything." Their words, not mine. Let me be clear when I say this:

I will not apologize for being my own person.

I am not perfect. I have days where I could give Grumpy from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs a run for his money. I try really hard to turn my perspective around before the day is out, because nobody likes perpetually bitter people. I don't, anyway. I try really hard not to take my emotions out on others - they could be having a day that is worse than mine.

My life isn't perfect either. I've had many struggles over the years, ones that cast shadows over my normally positive lifestyle. The past can rest in peace and I certainly don't like reliving it. We all have things that while not forgotten, are best put to rest so we can move forward with our lives. Rather than dwell on things over which I had no control, I did what I could, and tried really hard to not worry about the rest. I do not have a problem sharing things about my life if people simply ask me. My life is an open book, but that does not mean I will always volunteer information.

The point: do not minimize people's joys and struggles in life. If someone is excited about something at 7:00AM, share in their joy. Don't give them a hard time about being "positive" because their personality is much different than your own. Similarly, empathize with others in their struggles. Be there for them. Listen to what is affecting their life. Sometimes, that is all we need as people - for someone to simply listen.

Finally, if someone gives you a hard time for being zealous, passionate, or any other positive personality traits: do not take their words to heart, and do not apologize. You have nothing to be sorry for if you have not done anything wrong. Our society has gotten into a bad habit of starting sentences with the word sorry. "Sorry, do you have a minute?" "Sorry, can you help me fix the copier?" You get the idea. Sorry should be reserved for when a wrong has been done, not everyday things that you feel warrant an apology.

Never apologize for being your own person.

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