"There's no such thing as moods. Everyone can feel exactly how they want to."
Jon Davis, my tenth through twelfth grade math teacher, used to say this all the time. His Southern drawl, saying those exact words, came floating through my head yesterday. Thankfully, they didn't come floating out of my mouth, because at least half of everyone in the house was in a bad mood.
Now, this was not a hangry (hungry+angry) bad mood type of situation, but a true-blue bad mood type of day. Some were out-loud grouchy, others were quietly seething and frustrated, others were clearly jaded with the entire world, and at least one person wasn't feeling good.
Whenever days like that roll around, I feel smugly confident about the existence of moods. People are reacting to their environment. Look how much effect the little things are having. LOOK HOW MOODY EVERYONE IS, MR. DAVIS! UNCLE JON YOU WERE WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!
However, I think I was missing the point.
When Uncle Jon told people there was no such thing as moods, he was telling us a principle of the universe. You can act the way you wish you felt. If you feel angry but act in love, the anger will seep out. If you lash out in anger, you will only continue to feel angry.
Maybe by telling a group of fifteen year olds that moods don't exist, he was not invalidating emotion, but taking the power out of the omnipotent "mood" or "mood swing." Moods, as we so often referred to the overpowering rudeness that would flow out of ourselves, were robbed of their excuse-making power. You might feel junk, or be sad. Those are valid feelings. Treating the people around you badly because of them is just lame.
Yesterday, everyone was in a bad mood, and the day before, everyone had been pretty hangry around five. Despite that, no one yelled at anyone else. No one bit anyone's head off. People respected each other's emotions. The most amazing part of it was that everyone was supportive. People glanced across the table into a face just as moody as their own, and asked what was wrong in a voice full of concern, not passive-aggressive nonsense or "my-horse-is-bigger-than-your-horse." It was pretty amazing, and made me happy to live with the group I live with.
Moods exist. But they are just like the weather. If it is cold outside, put on some cuddly clothes and fix it within yourself as best you can. If it is hot outside, you still have to get up and get stuff done. It's just part of life, and it's not such a bad thing.
Feel how you feel, but treat people as if you loved them. It's not easy, but it is worth it.
Thanks, Mr. Uncle Jon Davis. I think I'm starting to get it.