When I was in high school, my friends and I went caroling as a part of a choir activity. We started singing to a local elderly couple. During the middle of “O Come All Ye Faithful” the old man slammed the door!
Every year at Christmas, we encounter real life, human grinches. Based off the character from the book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” these people who have a bad attitude about Christmas and try to bring down others who enjoy the holiday.
However, being a grinch isn’t just a holiday thing. I know people who try to bring down others all the time. They can’t stomach that fact that someone, somewhere, somehow is having fun! And, that fun absolutely must be stopped lest even more fun happens to break out. I mean, where do we stop? Everyone enjoying life??? /sarcasm
I had a former boss like this. Sadly, she was also a middle school principal. So, she didn’t just try to stop fun loving adults like me from laughing and enjoying life. She also tried to stifle the joy of middle school children.
I have often wondered why grinches behave the way they do. As a person who enjoys life, I could never understand a couple of things about the grinches of the world. First, I couldn’t understand why people would spend their lives in misery. Second, I had no clue why they would stifle the happiness of others.
Now, I think I have more insight into the behavior of grinches. First, many of them have gotten themselves in unhelpful patterns. I’m trying to be purposefully non-judgmental with my language. They are so used to negativity and fear that their brains have a hard time accepting joy and a love of life. Their brains are literally wired to need negative emotions. The late Candace Pert showed that people can literally become addicted to negativity.
Second, because they won’t allow themselves to feel joy, watching others be joyful can be emotionally painful. It’s like a child who doesn’t have the toy everyone else has. He gets jealous and it creates feelings of resentment. Unhappy people resent happy people because those joyful individuals feel what the grinches won’t allow themselves to experience: happiness.
Third, because those feelings of jealousy are painful, the joyless individuals of the world sometimes go out of their way to make others less joyful. The phrase “misery loves company” reflects this well. However, if the other people aren’t miserable, then these grinches will make sure they become that way very quickly, especially if the grinch is a boss.
So, stop being a grinch. Don’t be one in December or any month of the year. Give yourself permission to be happy. Do it once. Then keep doing it. No one deserves to be miserable, not even the most hardened grinch among us.