Monday, October 3, 2011

Want Some Cheese with that Whine?

We have lots of conversations at our house that start out with: "If Pepe was a person..." (And with that one sentence my father and grandmother are both shaking their heads thinking She has really lost it if she really thinks that dog thinks.)

Most of the time these sentences go something like, "If Pepe was a person, he'd be a germaphobe." He won't come near you if you smell bad. Or, "If Pepe was a person, he'd be OCD." He cannot stand it when we move furniture or the house is too-clean. Those things signal change and he's just not comfortable with that. Or, "If Pepe was a person, he'd be a real cheese snob." This dog can walk right past a T-bone on the floor but will jump on the counter and unwrap a block of fresh Parmesan cheese - he gets this one honestly. 

Well, in the picture below you can definitely tell Pepe is thinking, Mama, please don't leave me again. This is just not fair. Who will fill up my water bowl a zillion times a day because I drink like a camel after a 90-day desert trek? Who will leave pesky Scout outside all afternoon so he won't bother me during nap time? Who will let me lick the dishes before they go in the dishwasher?

I thought about sweet Pepe this morning during a session on "Would you like some Cheese with that Whine?" by Jenny Nolen (I'm at the SPRF Conference in Point Clear, Alabama). The session was all about having a positive attitude and a sense of humor as a way to combat negativity in the workplace. She had some really great points including this quote from Winston Churchill:

A pessimist sees the difficultly in every opportunity;
an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Poor Pepe is just not a optimist. I guess you may not be either if your first few months of life were spent hungry on the street or scared in an animal shelter. But the point of the session was that you can't focus on what's been "done" to you but with how you will "deal" with what life throws your way.

Jenny spoke about the different types of being negative: the moan-ers, the Yes but-ers, truth-lier (I don't want to hurt you, but ...), the murmur-ers, the one-uppers (you complain of a headache; they have a brain tumor), chicken little-ers, excuse givers, chronic hopelessness, etc.

She told how her grandmother could cry, whine and pray at the same time while talking about how this was "just my cross to bear." Her suggestion was to learn how to deal with pessimists and to handle the complaint with as much humor as possible:

"I look terrible."
"Yes, you do look terrible. I bet you won't be here in January."

One of her main points was that no one is born a pessimist - it is a learned behavior - and that by developing an attitude of thankfulness, quit whining and developing your sense of humor you can learn to control the "monkey matter" in your head.

My favorite thing she said was this bit of truth,
"If you don't feel dirt when you raise your hand's, you've still got options!"

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