Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.

Bad Mood, Nasty Attitude, and the Antidote

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Feb 5, 2014 9:59 PM

Some people walk around happy, kind, friendly, relaxed and radiate joy wherever they go. It's a stroke of good luck to cross paths with these people. It's rare. Usually, the secret is that those particular people feel loved and secure and then spread the wealth. I can think of a few truly pure examples. It's not they never get depressed for good reason or that their lives are always perfection. It's that they never let it out on others.

Most people can be warm and loving at their best but can't hold it steadily because life isn't so just and consistent. When they're sick, down on their luck, hurt, annoyed, tired, hungry, frustrated or just moody for indeterminate reason, they may present a tough exterior, a cold shoulder, or a nasty attitude. It doesn't mean they're mean or bad but it's not pleasant. They come across, then, as complainers, miserable, and no one wants their company. A gentle confrontation as to how they're affecting others often enough does the trick of giving them insight and they lighten up. Only the most recalcitrant become defensive and withdraw.

The worst case scenario. though, is the chronically nasty, miserable, complaining pessimist. That person thinks that some aches and pains, whether mental or physical, are an excuse to be cold and rejecting to others, to withdraw and isolate, to alienate and hurt. That person isn't mean or bad but is lost and weak. The antidote is hard to give because it involves training the chronic miscreant with optimism, acceptance and love to feel worthwhile, whole and needed, providing an opportunity for the person to give as well as take , and making sure not to catch or reinforce his misery-ever.

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