(This blog was originally posted on January 25, 2016)
“When the world gets in my way I say, ‘Have a nice day!’” – Bon Jovi
|Image courtesy of Microsoft|
What do you do when everything seems to go wrong in your day? I pondered this question while driving home from the barn this afternoon when “Have a Nice Day” by Bon Jovi came up on my playlist. It is so easy to internalize the frustration and run the unending loop of self-recrimination or to blame others when a plan doesn’t work out the way we plan or want it to.
Some people yell. Others get in their car and take a fast (and sometimes reckless) drive in the hope of blowing off some steam. It is always tempting and too easy to channel frustration and take it out on the next person you see, such as give the barista at Starbucks® a hard time for getting your order wrong. It is usually a little more challenging to just let go of your immediate (and usually transitory) angst to focus on what is actually going right in your day.
The late Dr. John Kappas, founder of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, used to include the following suggestion in many hypnotic scripts: I like it. It was (and is) a great motivator when you are learning a new behavior, such as politely refusing dessert after a meal to comply with your weight-loss program. Even when something “goes wrong” or does not fulfill your expectations or desires, this simple suggestion enables you to open your eyes to the opportunities this inconvenience could yield. So, you burned the special meal you spent all day preparing for that special someone? Yes, that is inconvenient and frustrating. However, Dr. Kappas’s suggestion facilitated a new attitude and ability to see an opportunity in the experience—a shared laugh or maybe even an impromptu, very romantic picnic of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the living-room floor.
So, someone cut you off on the freeway and prevented you from getting off the highway at your intended exit? Once again, this new attitude of “liking it” enables you to pass the negative emotion (frustration) and continue on your way. Who knows, your unintended detour might steer you clear of a traffic jam further up the road on your intended route that might have also added even more time to your original journey.
Many of us have experienced a situation in which someone seems to be taking out his or her frustrations on us. This person hasn’t learned the power of Dr. Kappas’s nifty little trick of “liking it” and instead tries to feel better by making things more difficult or awkward for others. That’s okay. You can still turn the potentially unpleasant situation around by reminding yourself that you like what is happening because it the situation is giving you a new perspective/experience that you can learn and grow from. Then, as Bon Jovi does in their hit song titled Have a Nice Day, politely tell the person to have a nice day and walk away. It is impossible to experience two opposite emotions at the same time: e.g., anxiety versus relaxation, frustration versus optimism. Ultimately, saying and believing “I like it!” and expressing a positive outlook and sentiments for others enables you to improve the situation for yourself by finding opportunities where someone else may only see obstacles.