Do you remember getting stung by a bee as a kid? I do. I was 8 years old, running around our block. As a kid I lived in a small neighborhood with a block of houses where all the backyards were sheltered from the road by the houses and kids could run around without worrying about cars like we were meant to run in our natural state – the backyard. I was having a great time playing something – probably football – and got stung by a bee that migrated from a neighboring flower garden to our makeshift football field. I thought my day was ruined.
As a kid I had no perspective but I still felt like this fine fall day, one of the last nice days of the year had be squandered now that I was stung by a bee. I hadn’t learned to curse yet but would have if I knew how. Then, like any other kid, I ran home to be attended to by mom who shared some empathy but not didn’t share in my agony.
Twenty years later was the next time I was stung, and it hurt but it didn’t ruin in anything. Instead of feeling like the world was ending because of this horticultural happenstance. It was a minor irritation, something I would hardly think about. I had gotten big.
As a kid, I lacked the emotional perspective that bee stings are small and insignificant and I lacked the physical fortitude to recognize that it didn’t really hurt that much. As a then twenty, and now thirty year old, I have those things. But I wonder, what is the equivalent now? If being stun by a bee felt like my day was ruined when I was eight, what ruins my day now? The answer to that is people.
Other people are the single biggest force that ruins my day. More than rain, snow, any other weather or long lines at the grocery store – those I guess there are other people there. All that is really stupid. If people ruin my day then what does that say about me? When I was eight it said I didn’t have much emotional maturity and my guess is that it says the same thing now. Let’s stop all that nonsense then. If I overcame bee stings then I can certainly overcome people.
The people who have all this figured out are the ones who smile. People who smile have figured out the emotional strengths they need and recognize that no matter what is happening to them, they get to choose their reaction to it and that choice makes their day.