Mad? "I Love You."

by | Feb. 23, 2004

Self Improvement

It was surreal; I wasn’t hungry, back from foreign exchange, or experiencing hormonal swings. Rabidly gorging, I retraced the last hour: stopped at the bank, got mail at the store, met nasty copy store clerk, stamps at post…Aha! Let’s back up to the nasty copy store clerk experience.

I wanted just 15 copies, thank you, color on both sides; that was it. Alas, this would not do it; it had to be more complex. I watched her bring me the first batch (note “first), which I mistook for tie-dyed shirts. Anxious, I surveyed the second batch, which had the same ‘60s meltdown look but agreed they did indeed have “more beautifully intense colors.”

Suddenly, I felt an angry surge: was this brain surgery? After another nervous 15 minutes I humorously offered a sterilized copier glove and gown, which was met with silence.

Why did I waste a morning in frustration and food compensation? To effectively deal with these surges of business-hour anger, I have since learned a great tool. Now, when I encounter a nasty copy store clerk, I mentally say, “I love you.” I keep repeating this until my thoughts evolve to, “you must have had a hard day, rough childhood, pet boa constrictor in the heat duct,” something like that. This produces some kind of hard-to-spell hormone that upon release actually makes you feel love for that person.

Being religious, I know this love is from God who agrees with me completely in every situation, waiting only to get those nasty people in their awaiting kingdom (full of non-working copiers).

This silent “I love you” in the face of anger is a powerful tool and incredibly universal. Use this tool when your son has taken permanent marker to the new kitchen paint job, your daughter has lost your diamond necklace at prom, or your spouse has forgotten your anniversary ten years running. I assumed my husband used this tool, when I filled the gas tank of his brand new diesel truck with unleaded gasoline.

This secret weapon betters most situations. When the glossy-lipped airline reservationist tells you for the twenty-seventh time that you’ll be on the very next flight, you may feel your insides start to shred. Good time for a silent “I love you.”

This works. I do it often. Initially, my thoughts tend towards something like, “Listen, you red-painted siren from the airport coffee lounge, get me that reservation or I’m gonna reach in and grab your larynx.” Enter “I love you,” which softens me to “But, seeing as you are a child of God, I will call on the powers that be to merely curse your firstborn,” something of that nature.

Author Leo Buscaglia, shares the story of a man driving up a mountain road. As he’s about to turn, a woman zips around the curve, swerves to miss him, and yells, “Pig!” Incensed, he yells back, “Sow!” Then he turns the corner and hits a pig.

So, before you emotionally react to the situation at hand – whether by taste buds or by temper – try a silent “I love you,” before you head for the Tastee Freeze.

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