Social Question

Pandora's avatar

Do I have any volunteers for an experiment?

Asked by Pandora (22719 points ) August 8th, 2012

Ok, so in an earlier thread, the topic of sacrifice came up. So it got me wondering if anyone would be willing to sacrifice being impatient, rude, or their own beliefs for one week. Just be respectful of all those around you at all times. From the mean co-worker to the jerk brother, to the nosy neighbor or slow gruff cashier worker. Doesn’t mean you have to agree. Just respectful an polite. If your anti gay, or anti woman or anti men or anti religion. Be nice. Even helpful when necessary. Try not to view anything they say or do as a personal attack. Either reply politely or just wish them a nice day and move on.
So at the end of a week, let me know how it went.
Is it too hard to keep doing?
Was life more difficult as a result or easier?
I will be giving it a shot and will let people know how it went.

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108 Answers

Pandora's avatar

Hmm! Must be difficult!
I see where people are observing but no one is committing to the week.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m thinking it over. I could do it to everyone but bad drivers I think. I’m usually pretty mellow, but they drive me nuts.Since I’m came within feet of being killed it’s gotten worse. I’ll give it a shot, but it’s going to be tough.

jordym84's avatar

This is coming at a great time because I’ve been trying to change how I respond to things internally and this just gave me a much-needed push, so challenge accepted!!

To elaborate a little more, I tend to read too much into people’s words and actions and take everything personally and though I never let it show, it does take a toll on my happiness because I internalize everything and obsess over it to no end. The reason I want to change is because it’s been taking a toll on my best relationship to date and I want to stop before I do some major damage. I shall update you in a week :)

Coloma's avatar

I’ve been practicing this for a long time now, but sure, a little reminder is always good.
I did have a moment with a couple of girls at the gas pumps the other day. They decided to park right in front of the stores pumps blocking them. I breezed into the cashier and exclaimed to them ” Way to go girls, blocking the pumps, how very considerate of you!” lol

They looked appropreatley sheepish.

Sunny2's avatar

I’ve been practicing this for years. It’s the only way to go. Usually people return in kind. Occasionally I meet a sour response, but I can’t remember when and I’m sorry that person has to go through life being like that.

Coloma's avatar

@Sunny2 I agree.
Well, I am leaving for a little beach getaway in an hour, good mindfulness reminder as I navigate through San francisco. lol

bkcunningham's avatar

I’ll take it on, @Pandora. It seems like I’ve lost my peace lately and I think it may be just what I need to keep me focused on the important things in life and get my center back. Thank you for the thoughtful suggestion. My week will begin Wednesday, August 8, 2012, at 11 a.m. EST.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I am usually that way so this should be easy for me.
Starting right now. I’m in.

Pandora's avatar

I actually started this about 2 weeks back and I’ve noticed a big difference. Strangers have been more open and helpful and I’ve had the most incredible luck lately. I’ve found an awesome dentist, I’ve gotten a free donut and I got a hundred dollar coupon in the mail from my dentist. My daughter even spent the weekend and we had a marvelous time together and my Brother in law came over and helped us organize our garage.
People who seemed snobby to me before are now smiling and talking to me. I want this to continue.
@bkcunningham It is more peaceful.
@jordym84 Oh, I wish you the best in your quest. Ha ha! that rhymed.
@Adirondackwannabe Just let them pass by you. That’s what I do. It is more difficult to do when you feel they were reckless with your life but I try to remember now that it isn’t worth shattering my inner peace. I can’t change them but I can change how I choose to feel.
@coloma LOL, Nice try but that is a little sarcasm. Mind you there are worse responses. But a little more peaceful is what I’m going for. :)

gailcalled's avatar

I am happy to volunteer because it involves no change in my behavior or attitude.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Pandora This idiot was passing three cars in a no passing zone on a narrow two lane road and I had a deep ditch and an earthen bank to my right. There was not going to be any passing involved. The second car saved my bacon.

Pandora's avatar

I’m not saying that would not involve some anger. But consider this for a moment. What if the jerk was in a panic state, like a family emergency. Not a real reason to be careless, but understandable. Either way. Even if it was intentional, they have long let it go. However you only punish yourself by staying angry. It changes nothing but only yourself. You are allowing them victory over your own well being.
As I have been doing this, I have found that its easier to actually let go of malice than it is to hold it in. I feel it is the secret that really happy people have. The ability to let go of the negative. Negativity is a poison in our bodies. I hope there are no further incidents along the way for you and that this experiment makes you lighter and happier.

ucme's avatar

Yeah, but that would give the idiots of the world carte blanche to thrive & indeed flourish in their idiotic ways.
I mean, cretins fundamental purpose in life is to allow us “normal folk” to let off steam once in a while. Maintain the status quo by means of a healthy balance say I.

zenvelo's avatar

I’ll give it a try.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Pandora GA. That’s good advice. I’m still pissed at the idiot. It was two young guys, so no reason for it. I was getting ready to die. It messes with your mind a lot. Let me work on what you said.

Pandora's avatar

@ucme Does it really give the carte blanche. If anything, negative responses make them feel less like a cretin and gives them the feeling that they have the right to treat everyone with disrespect because that is all they get. I once knew a teen boy who was treated like a cretin. So he played the role. I was aware of his reputation but decided he was never a cretin to me so I would give him respect till he proved unworthy. He was in the laundry room and smoking pot. I said good morning as he sat there giving me a confused look because I did not run away like other neighbors. So I asked him if he was going to be there for while. He shrugged his shoulders. Then I asked him if he would be so kind as to knock on my door when the load was done so that it would be free for others to wash. When it was done. He knocked on my door. From that day on he would help me with my groceries some times if I asked and he would say good morning or whatever time of day. If I asked him if he has seen my kids, he would reply. My neighbors thought I was nuts. I told them he was just waiting for someone to say he wasn’t trash.

jordym84's avatar

@Pandora Thank you :)

bkcunningham's avatar

Best wishes @jordym84 on your journey to finding peace and vanquishing the obsessing voice that nags you to give up your happiness and hold demons in your head. Cheers to peace and tranquillity.

blueiiznh's avatar

Easy peasey Lemon squeezy.
I have been doing that for years.
Starting to take notes now.

gailcalled's avatar

I can’t remember when anyone was rude, enraged or outright nasty to me. Civility begets civility.

JLeslie's avatar

I firmly believe in what you are proposing, to treat others with respect and to try to always be polite. I have not lived up to this ideal lately, I have been very on edge, I feel out of control honestly. The horrible thing is the only answer I can find right now is to pull away, I think this is how people become agorophic maybe? Not that I want to withdraw to such an extreme, not at all, but I am thinking I will have to completely avoid some situations, drop some issues that are important to me, even lose money, to save my sanity and be civilized again. To be happy again. I have stopped watching most politics, I am trying my best not to respond at all to posts on facebook that differ with my beliefs and opinions, hoping to not have a short temper with my husband. It’s very bad right now for me. I feel very angry and frustrated constantly, and that is not my usual state of being. I should add feeling sad to the list, the whole situation has made me quite weepy and I think it is visible on my face, in my actions, and in my voice.

I am going to take your week challenge, I hope it helps get me back to the place I want to be.

King_Pariah's avatar

I do this already, just occasionally vent here or elsewhere.

bkcunningham's avatar

I sincerely do hope you are feeling better soon, @JLeslie. Your health is more important than anything else in the world. It is easy to forget and allow external factors to affect our internal happiness. Somethings are out of our control and some things are directly in our control. Here’s to civility and to burying hatchets. Life is short. May we all enjoy what we are given in robust health and glowing happiness.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham Thank you. I think where everything goes off track is when being a bitch gets you more results than being nice. It reinforces the bad behavior.

Pandora's avatar

@JLeslie Oh, it made me sad to read your post. Virtual Huge HUG is headed your way. You are one of the most compassionate people here usually. I’m sorry you are surrounded by negativity. It is true that being a bitch can get you what you want but often times not in the fashion you want it, so its as if you still didn’t get what you want. I found I was pulling away as well but I’ve slowly been realizing it benefits no one. And it especially doesn’t benefit me. I’m glad you have taken the challenge and I am confident that you can do whatever you set you mind to do. I’ve been on here for some time now and I’ve seen your responses. You have it in you to conquer those around you and enjoy life again. CARPE DIEM!

bkcunningham's avatar

I have found that sometimes in life I’ve had to change the results I want, @JLeslie. @Pandora‘s challenge hit me between the eyes and straight in my heart at a time I truly needed the reminder. I get wrapped up in wanting results that take me along a path of frustration, anger and well, you know what I mean. I’m going to try my best to speak positively and softly, at least for the remainder of today with a goal of peaceful results.

JLeslie's avatar

@pandora Thank you for your response. It was starting to feel abusive (I don’t like to use such a strong word, but not sure what other word to use) like I can let people abuse me and I can still be cordial or I can fight back, you know what I mean? But, you are so right being a bitch still does not get me what I want in total, it hurts me in other ways. My husband keeps saying it is up to me how I react, how I let things affect me, and I know he is right.

On fluther I don’t feel this way, the disagreement is fine here, sometimes the arguments are downright funny, and I think the majority of our jellies are respectful.

It will be interesting to see the results people have after the week. Looking forward to some good stories :).

Kardamom's avatar

I guess it will be just like any other day to me.

It’s ironic, that just yesterday as I was driving my brother home from work (he’s on a temporary “no driving” stint due to a medical condition) the 50 miles it takes, I said that it was it was lucky for both of us that I don’t suffer from road rage. When we got to the toll booth, the dude in front of us started honking at the guy in front of him, because he wasn’t paying fast enough. I mean geez, come on dude 30 seconds is not going to kill you.

Pandora's avatar

Well my little fluther friends. Share the experiment with family and friends and see if they would like to join in on the experiment. You can relay any messages they care to share about their experience. Maybe it may even catch on with others who are in need of a change. I will do so likewise.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@gailcalled and I clearly read from the same playbook. I too am having trouble thinking of the last time someone was crude or rude to me.

JLeslie's avatar

@LuckyGuy For me it has not been rudeness, it has been inaction, not following through on a committment, incompetence, and people taking advantage. That is what I have been reacting to so negatively.

ucme's avatar

@Pandora I shall wish you a nice day & move on, agree to disagree.

CWOTUS's avatar

You don’t play Yahoo!Spades, do you? It’s nearly impossible to do this on that site if you care about the games you play. Very nearly impossible. I’m normally the politest one in the room – those who are more polite seem almost godlike to me – but even I can lose it when faced with an inconsiderate player or a rude or vindictive partner.

Traffic doesn’t bother me so much, but we have amazingly byzantine and stupid processes (and emails explaining them) at work, and I do get exasperated with them, but mostly in an impersonal way.

Otherwise, I try to be this way as often as I can, and deliberately.

Pandora's avatar

@ucme :) You have a nice day too. See it didn’t hurt.

Pandora's avatar

@CWOTUS Actually my husband plays spades on MSN. He usually doesn’t read the comments. He doesn’t get too many comments since he is pretty good but some people do get extremely mean to partners when things go wrong. He just blocks them from ever playing with him.

ucme's avatar

@Pandora Oh it never hurts, i’m immune to negativity & antagonism see, happy to go about my day just as I please.

Pandora's avatar

@ucme Did not mean it as sarcastic. Was truly just wishing you a nice day. I want genuine volunteers. I believe in living by example, not by bullying. That is simply how I generally work.

ucme's avatar

@Pandora Never crossed my mind, took it as read :¬)

YARNLADY's avatar

YARNLADY is happy every day. It’s easy for me, because I don’t get out much, and I enjoy being nice with my family.

flutherother's avatar

A great idea! I will give it a go. I am usually respectful of others but I will be especially careful in the coming week.

Pandora's avatar

Oh. Update. My husband said he has been trying to do that this week so far. He is usually polite but office politics has been making him behave not his usual self. We actually touched on the subject this weekend. He said that today he has found a new connection with someone who is usually difficult because he has been taking my advice.

Ron_C's avatar

A week without critiizing people even though you know they’re wrong? Then wish them a nice day? Nope, don’t count on me for this one.

TheIntern55's avatar

I’ve been thinking about this stuff all day. The whole Sikh temple shooting has gotten me going lately. I don’t think this experiment should last for a week, but forever. If you respect everyone, regardless of your views, things could go smoothly.
I’m not in contact with alot of people this next week except at the VBS camp I’m teaching at (and I can’t yell at kindergardners), so when I return to mass civilization, I’ll tell you how it goes.

CWOTUS's avatar

Whoa. You teach Visual Basic Scripting to kindergartners? No wonder I could never get it.

TheIntern55's avatar

No. Vacation Bible School. Sorry. Should’ve been more clear on that.

augustlan's avatar

Does this involve only outer behavior, or your negative thoughts, too? I mean, I’m pretty much always nice and try my best to respect people (and I generally get the same in return), but I do sometimes have negative thoughts about people or situations. There is one person in my life I’ve been bitchy toward lately… I’ve been making a concerted effort to change that, and will continue for the week.

athenasgriffin's avatar

This is 85% the way I behave now. And frankly, people are a little bored by it. I’m a little bored by it. Sometimes I look into my own head and it feels very bland.

The people who like me tend to like the other 15% of the time more. Insulting and derogatory is funny as long as you don’t mean it. And don’t publicize it. (Meaning keep your “funny” self off the interwebs.)

The funny thing is me being accepting seems to offend people. I told my friends that I thought polygamy and polyandry should be legal. I think anyone should be able to marry anyone as long as they are adults and consenting yada, yada, yada. it should not be disallowed because religion disapproves of it. This got me a very voraciously negative response.

Pandora's avatar

@augustlan It involves both. The moment you make a real conscious choice to be nice. (Not just nod an move lips as in regular polite society) you realize (at least for me) that you almost have to shake it off on the inside as well. It is no longer about just being respectful but rather it harbors an inner respect. You gradually become what you wish society was more like and I think people are more perceptive about your sincerity. So you draw a more positive attitude back or better yet. A more sincere response.

Pandora's avatar

@athenasgriffin As I was just explaining to @augustlan. To often I think our thank yous and so on are right on par with how is the weather. Like when someone asks, how was your day and then jumps into how there day was because you have a long boring tale.
We often don’t really mean what we say. So yes it gets boring. But it doesn’t mean one cannot joke or have fun or even disagree. Only do it in a way where it doesn’t become angry. If it does, apologize if you have made them upset and try to understand why. Doesn’t mean that you have to agree. Rather just acknowledge that it is a very tender subject.
If you feel you are being attacked then tell them that you hold no anger towards them and if they ever really wish to understand your views that you will be willing to share your views when they are more reasonable. It is still respectful to them and to yourself.

Pandora's avatar

Funny I haven’t even approached my daughter about this subject and she sent me this: She said a friend sent it to her and she knows I like these kind of things so that makes sense. But its amusing that it just came on the day I decided to do this experiment.
Its as if the universe is trying to send me a message. LOL
This is very interesting. A little long but worth watching.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Pandora Not too bad today, I let 3 out of 4 idiot drivers slide on the way in today, and I said oops right after cursing the other one. It is a better way to go. I’m still having trouble letting go of the idiot that tried to kill me.He taught me one thing I wish I didn’t know. Most of the people killed in head on collisions know exactly what’s going to happen. How do you let go of someone that gave you something you really don’t want to know. Any thoughts?

bkcunningham's avatar

Are you serious with your question, @Adirondackwannabe?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@bkcunningham 100 percent serious.
Oh shit, I probably shouldn’t have shared that. I’ll flag it. Sorry. I didn’t think it through.
It’s flagged. You guys didn’t need to know that either. My apologies. I couldn’t edit it.

bkcunningham's avatar

In the sense that someone gave you the vision of a vehicle coming straight at you – but missing you/not hitting you – grab hold to that vision; not the part you have to fantasize about. Don’t fantasize past the part of what you have actual proof and physical evidence about. That would be that you didn’t get hit head-on in an accident. Hold on to that miracle, that twist of good fate, that instantaneous piece of good luck, whatever you want to call it. Let go of the image you are imagining.

Does that make sense? I guess what I’m saying is count your blessings and not your imagined loss.

Pandora's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I’ve actually gone through that possibility once myself. I just count my blessings and my husbands quick reaction. Although in fairness, there was a lot of construction going on and I had told my husband to slow down because we were traveling during peak hours and there were idiots everywhere in a hurry to get home, or the hospital or in a pine box. We also had to swerve off the road completely. Some guy was in a hurry so he was passing cars and got in our lane. I simply didn’t dwell on it. I guess I don’t because my life is full of near life and death misses. I simply think, when it is my time, than no amount of worry or anger or frustration is going to change it. I simply hope its quick and I’m not aware.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@bkcunningham @Pandora I guess the mods thought it was okay. I wasn’t clear what bothered me so much. It wasn’t that it almost happened to me. That’s life. What bothered me is learning you know exactly what is going to happen. I realized my options, at about 40 feet away and 100 mph closing speed, are stay in the road and die, or go for the ditch and kill my s/o. I told myself twice “you are going to die”. It wasn’t imagined, it was certain. I know a lot of people killed have realized the same thing. That really sucks.

augustlan's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe That knowledge does suck, but it’s probably worth knowing anyway. Maybe it’s a reminder to live well while we are here, you know?

As for me, today I had a potentially inflammatory conversation with the person I mentioned above, and it came out better than expected. With this challenge in mind, I was extra careful with my tone and my responses, and even my thoughts. While he still got upset, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. After he had a few minutes to calm down, we had a productive talk. It was good.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@augustlan I like that. Turn it around from a negative to a positive lesson on how to live life. Thank you so so much. This site is so amazing.

Pandora's avatar

@augustlan AWESOME! :)
I was pleasantly surprised today as well. My husband had an eye appointment and he said the nurses all asked for me and asked him to bring me next time. I usually go with him but I was tired today. He said they told him to let me know that I was missed and that we are the best people they have ever had come in the office. They have a blast talking with us both. It was all so sweet. My husband told them he thought they were that friendly with everyone and they said, not really because most of the time they are met with indifference or an attitude. They said we make their day when we come in. :) It was really sweet to hear.

Coloma's avatar

Some good vibes on a crazy little coastal road today coming back form my mini-getaway at the ocean the last 2 days.
Everyone being very well behaved and waving “thank you’s” to those of us letting them pass while we were all navigating a wild road with 15 & 20 mph curves for 33 miles. lol

Man….fatigued but smiling! :-)

Pandora's avatar

Wanted to remind everyone who joined the experiment that it ends August 14th. Of course you are welcomed to make it last longer and still post good things that have resulted from it.
I sent little reminders out to everyone, to remind you of the experiment and encourage you all to stay on track. If I missed anyone I apologize.
This weekend I will be in and out but I may forget myself about keeping up with you guys. Anyone feel free to remind me. I will be house hunting this weekend. Any purchase over a few thousands make me want to vomit so I will be needing something else to focus on.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. And thanks again for joining my experiment. :D

augustlan's avatar

Good luck on the house hunt, @Pandora!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Pandora @augustlan I just wanted you to know you’ve helped me get my head around this whole thing I’ve dealt with. I was just pissed and angry, it wasn’t healthy. Now I’m turning it around, I’m looking to protect innocent drivers from the idiots. I had a situation Saturday where an idiot was tailgating me through a small village and I just watched. We came to a passing zone, there’s another car coming at us 250 or so feet away, and the idiot starts to pass me. I just took care of the other driver and hit the brakes hard and went for the shoulder. I did curse the idiot, and the other car had to hit the shoulder too. I wish I didn’t know what I learned or what the feeling of knowing what’s coming, but I’ve got it from a negative to a positive. Thanks.

Pandora's avatar

I’m happy to hear its working for you. No need for thanks though. Happier drivers on the road makes it safer for everyone. Maybe if we can spread this message around than people will stop racing places without thinking how stress can kill in more than one way. It can kill us slowly or quickly, but it does kill either way. But I am happy to help.

Pandora's avatar

Tonight is the completion of my 7 day experiment. I hope everyone has been keeping mental notes.
:)

bkcunningham's avatar

I’ve backslid a few times. I’m still on my journey. It isn’t over. I think I’m making progress with finding my center again though. It is hard to explain, but it really feels like I’m getting closer to a new peace. I’m not entirely there yet, but for some reason I can’t explain, it feels closer.

jordym84's avatar

@bkcunningham That’s how I feel, too!! The first few days were so damn difficult, but I feel like the hard part is over now. I have this inner peace that I haven’t had in ages and I’m so happy about it. And, like you, I don’t really know how to explain it…I just know that it’s a good feeling :)

@Pandora Thank you so much for this initiative!! It could not have come at a more perfect time in my life!

YARNLADY's avatar

I congratulate myself on keeping my mouth shut when my DIL complained that she spent the last three days washing dishes.

I wash dishes every single day, and sometimes twice a day, but I never said a word.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m very happy to read that from you, @jordym84. Before I gave my last answer I was reading back over the previous answers and wondering how everyone had done. I was sincerely hoping you were getting along with the experiment and finding some peace. I’m very happy for you. :-) Let’s keep on this path.

jordym84's avatar

@bkcunningham Thank you!! And yes, let’s keep this up. The way I see it, only good things can come from it :)

bkcunningham's avatar

It is a deal, @jordym84. Peace to you friend.

gailcalled's avatar

If you do this long enough, it becomes second nature.

jordym84's avatar

@bkcunningham Same to you, friend :)

jordym84's avatar

@gailcalled Yup, that’s my goal and I know that once I get past this experimental period, it’ll be second nature for sure :)

Pandora's avatar

@bkcunningham I’m so happy that you are finding your center again.
@jordym84 For once I am at a lost for words. (Extremely unusual for me. LOL) I never dreamed this would turn out so well for someone else in need of it. I mean I did because it has helped myself immensely but I’ve always been a bit strange anyway.
I’m so please you are making it a new way of life. It really is awesome at how it wakes you up inside to life and living. I think I haven’t felt this good since I was young and first in love. I kept thinking people were joyful with me because they thought my love for my husband was so cute. Now I know they were drawn to the joy and responding to that.

@Yarnlady, Congrats at keeping quiet. LOL

I know for me it has helped me get a little bit of my old self back. I think the only draw back is that it has made me care a little bit more about the world in general than just my little world, but the benefits far outweigh ever really seeing that as a negative. After years of only seeing the negative in people I have started to mentally block my emotions. My thoughts were that it is a cold world and I need to be cold as well. But in doing that, I realized I was sacrifice real joy. There is a pleasure that comes from making others happy.
I have been going house hunting this week so I haven’t gotten a chance to meet many people. Most of the homes are empty. But I did meet some people along the way that did seem to light up after speaking to me. One lady even told me that I know where she works so don’t hesitate to stop buy and say hello any time I’m in the neighborhood. She said she would like to show me around the area and introduce myself and my husband to some activities nearby. This was after I made her go through a lot of trouble and changed my mind. I apologized a million times after making her stay so late. She said it was no problem because her days are usually long and not as much fun as she had with us.
Now as for my husband he continues to see positive improvements at work.
Although house hunting is extremely exhausting emotionally, we are managing the stress it brings and are able not to let it effect our relationship.
We both found something that each of us loved, but not at the same time. So we both just decided if its not right for the both of us than we need to keep looking.

Well I can’t wait to hear from everyone else.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Pandora I’ve managed to ditch most of the anger and bad feelings. It’s a work in process though. I had to come to a complete stop for an idiot making a left turn right in front of me this AM. He got the bird, but more in exasperation than anger. I’m driving a lot safer than I used to. And in general life, I’ve managed to tone it down a bit.

LuckyGuy's avatar

If the experiment was was only for outward behavior I passed with flying colors.
But if the experiment included thoughts and comments to myself I failed.
1) I saw some low life individuals jump a line and commented to myself.
2) Most of my violations were during driving. I saw many instances of driving while texting causing them to wandering all over the road or drive too slowly. and I said something to myself.
3) I was working with an attorney and noticed how all tasks magically take almost exactly one hour. It’s a miracle! I thought “Crooked SOB.”

I was never outwardly rude to anyone.
Thanks for the experiment. I learned something about myself..

Pandora's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I’m glad to here it is helping you improve your anger and bad feelings. Just try to remember every time that bad feelings hurt you more than the other person.
@LuckyGuy Great assessment. The idea isn’t really about getting rid of all your bad thoughts but to see the connection between how we treat others reflects inward as well. You cannot close yourself off or be rude without it coming back into your life and leave you feeling bad or miserable. I like to think of it as fake it till you make it. The more honest your smiles become the more light hearted you become the more at ease they become with you. Bringing with it a little more joy. We will always have negative thoughts come through our mind but our reaction plays a part in our ability to let it go.

You did at least learn that these little thoughts pop into your head. That is something I had to think of about as well. So you did not fail. I never really thought much about how those little thoughts were piling up and making myself more negative each day as time went on. They start to block our ability to see anything good. I think that is the difference between really happy people and sad, angry, frustrated or hateful people. They simply lose the ability to be happy or to recognize it because they are too busy seeing the negative.

In all the experiment was to improve our perception of ourselves. We all think we are perfectly fine because we look at everyone else for flaws, and become unaware that it comes at a price to our well being and peace of mind. We live in a drone like society, where we buzz along collect the pollen but never bother to smell the flowers or enjoy the trip.

Coloma's avatar

3:40 on a sweltering day in my zone and just rolled in. Smiled and waved at a vintage fire truck on my way home. ;-)
Best of all I didn’t lose my cool when a driver failed to signal and then turned right in front of me causing me to swerve around them. It was quite the maneuver and I was more pleased with my quick and deft reaction and my oh so awesomely handling and forgiving car than their stupidity. I am almost always in a cheery mood, so I forgive myself when I have an off moment. The exception rather than the norm for me, so, it is, all good, indeed. :-)

augustlan's avatar

The experiment opened my eyes to the ‘hidden stress’ going on in my head sometimes. Even though my outward behavior is nearly always in line with what we were going for here, it helped me a lot to be aware of my inner thoughts.

All in all, the week went very well. I even managed to survive taking three teenage girls school clothes shopping, and the only part of me that suffered was my body. There was no unpleasantness at all! The girls even got along with each other, which is sometimes a miracle. The only time I noticed some difficulty was when I was, surprise, driving. I actively fought the negative thoughts about other drivers, replacing them with kinder ones, but they did keep popping in and making me tense up. Driving turns out to be way more aggravating than I’d previously thought! Still some work to do.

Thanks, @Pandora, for giving us all this opportunity!

Pandora's avatar

@Coloma Glad you can keep your cool on a sweltering day. :)
@augustlan Driving does seem to be everyone biggest challenge it seems. It is mine as well but I have found that avoiding certain roads at certain time of the day helps alleviate a lot of that aggravation. I’m not working right now but I remember my co-workers asking me why did I drive a different road home in the evening since it was longer and the speed limit was less. I explained that the back road I took was never congested on my way home and I also had less lights stopping me and less people cutting me off. I either got home earlier or the same time but my nerves where intact along with my body. Maybe you need to find another route home for bad traffic days. I know if I took the main road home, I was usually frustrated and angry. When I took the back way home, I had time to decompress from work before I got home. Even now. I refuse to drive the main roads near my home between 2:30 and 5:30 pm because everyone is driving like their house is on fire and they are the only people on the road. So I run all errands and appointments before 1 or after 5:30.

blueiiznh's avatar

I have practiced this technique fir many years and always find situations over a day or a week that will find value in it.
It has helped me through tough times and has helped manuever me through challenges.
I had one run in this week that I had to work hard at not getting pulled into the other persons vortex. A simple way through it is to remember that you actually don’t have to say anything.
I was reading something very aligned with this concept today. While it is a bit lengthy, I thinnk it is fitting.

There are certain principles in life that are pretty consistent, and this is one of them.  How we act usually determines how we are treated, and what we believe usually determines how we act.  If you believe that people who love you will leave you, then either you’re going to treat them badly or with distance or you’re going to try to hold on to them too hard, and either way you’re engaging in behavior that tends to make people want to put distance between themselves and you.

Most of us don’t pay much attention to our unconscious beliefs because we never go deep enough into ourselves to figure out what they may be.  Do you believe that you’re not meant to be wealthy?  That you’re not meant to be happy?  That you’re not meant to have a strong, healthy relationship?  That you don’t deserve to be treated well?  I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who have had chances at great relationships with loving, caring people, but who have rejected those people in favor of others who treat them so poorly that it’s completely unbelievable that they actually chose this other person.
 It’s silly, but it’s the way things are, and while I constantly work to change my situation, I also constantly work to change the beliefs that continue to make the situation reality.
Are your problems in a relationship related more to the other person’s actions, or to your beliefs about how the other person should act?  We all go through struggles in life, and many of them we cause ourselves, making them completely unnecessary, but no less true.  When we uncover those beliefs and work to change them, we can start to move ahead more quickly, for we will start to see our lives change, and then adopt a new belief to replace the old, silly one.
~livinglifefully

jordym84's avatar

@Pandora For once I am at a lost for words. (Extremely unusual for me. LOL) I never dreamed this would turn out so well for someone else in need of it. I mean I did because it has helped myself immensely but I’ve always been a bit strange anyway. I’m so please you are making it a new way of life. It really is awesome at how it wakes you up inside to life and living. I think I haven’t felt this good since I was young and first in love. I kept thinking people were joyful with me because they thought my love for my husband was so cute. Now I know they were drawn to the joy and responding to that.

I can honestly say that I have not felt this light and happy and peaceful inside in a very, very long time and it feels amazing to have those feelings back, which is why I’m making this a permanent change. It was really hard at first, but now, almost 2 weeks later, it’s become second nature to me :)

zenvelo's avatar

All,

I am way overdue in responding to @Pandora‘s requests for an update. The reason was/is I am embarrassed at how poorly this worked for me. Despite my best intentions, I often found myself a bit short tempered with poor drivers and standing in lines that take forever, not to mention flutherites that “just don’t get it”.

This is not a universal response by me, I am often quite “live and let live” on the freeway, I don’t rage at other drivers, but I do get frustrated at being delayed. It’s my ego sticking it’s hand up and shouting “what about me”, reminding the world that at that moment my time is more valuable than anyone else’s.

And knowing that patience and non-blame are how I should live anyway, reflecting on the day and the week made me aware of how short of my own ideals I become at times.

So, to all of you, I will strive to embody the premise of the experiment, but cannot promise anything more than my best.

gailcalled's avatar

@zenvelo: Change the job description.

Stuck in traffic? A chance to floss, file nails or read a page of a book you love.

In a line at the bank? Practice meditative breathing; check your pulse before and after; memorize a short poem to declaim to your SO (or cat).

I keep a little magnifying mirror and a tweezers in my purse and pluck a few stray eyebrows while I am at a red light.

Pandora's avatar

@zenvelo As I see it, I don’t think you failed at all. Everyone has that button that just puts them out. I know a few family members who can push my buttons no matter how much I try to be relaxed about things. I do find it is great for going to work out at the gym. I work out till I’m too beat to care. Just did it yesterday. It’s not about being perfect and all zen like. It’s more about working to find how you can improve your inner peace, but first you have to find whats wrong to fix it. Most people walk about life getting bitter about all the little things and blaming everything else without realizing that they mostly need to look at themselves to find that inner peace they need. You know your problem is traffic. I use to feel the same way but now I just listen to the radio for news or sing to my favorite tunes, or make up crazy sentences from the plates in front of me. I love mostly singing to my favorite songs. If you have an Ipod or I phone that can be plugged into your stereo, you can download a set of songs that you know make you feel energized or peaceful or oldies that take you back to a time you were happy.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Pandora Backslid a little yesterday, swearing at a few idiots until I remembered your experiment. Then mellowed and enjoyed the rest of the drive home. It’s still helping me out.

Coloma's avatar

Today will be a test for me, I am tired, grouchy from this unrelenting heat wave here the last 3 weeks and running, yet again, my own damn fault on about 5 hours sleep. Oookay….let ‘er rip! I shall find my bliss bubble and not allow anyone to burst it, lest they get an acid bath raining down on them.

As I have been told…” If looks could kill ” lololol ;-p

bkcunningham's avatar

@Coloma, fill the hot tub with ice water and turn on the jets!

Coloma's avatar

@bkcunningham Haha, I have been doing that, gotta take the core body temp down to near hypothermia lately.

Pandora's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Awesome! In no time at all you will be singing out loud as you drive and other people will think; “Why can’t I be that happy?” Then they will catch on. Well at least one can hope. :)
@Coloma So how did it go? Bubble still intact?
I have been having a hard time these last 2 days maintaining my bubble, but luckily
I was rewarded with a pleasant surprise today.
I have been trying to hold my tongue lately because my husband and I were in opposite sides of a problem. Which ever way we decided to go one of us was going to be extremely unhappy. I decided to let it go and let the universe take care of it. So a friend (not a good part) found out they are going to be unemployed soon because of cut backs and it changed my husbands view to mine. So we are no longer at odds. Luckily he knows of a possible job for her and can recommend her. If it all works out than everyone will be happy. I will be happier when I know she is employed once more. She really is super sweet and a hard worker.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m sorry to hear you have been having a bumpy patch, (((@Pandora))). Cyber hugs to you. I’ll keep you and your friend in my prayers and thoughts.

Pandora's avatar

@bkcunningham I thought I felt all warm and cuddly inside. Thanks for the hug. I am good now that we are both on the same page. But I would appreciate prayers for my friend. She is such a happy person no matter what. I just want the best for her.

Coloma's avatar

@Pandora 8:05 on the west coast, just rolled in, and am happy to report that I managed to have ZERO pissy moments today. Right after my grumpy sharing here early this morning I hit the road for my day. First great thing was I tuned into a block of Tom Petty music on the classic rock station that had me singing my favorite T.P. song….” Heeeey baby, there ain’t no easy waay out….” but I *stand my ground, and I won’‘t back down…” :-)
Nothing like rockin’ down the highway singing my little heart out and feeling energized inspite of my physical exhaustion.

Completed all of my biz. stuff and then, met a friend for lunch and dropped by my daughters with a little gift for the boyfriend. I always call them something new, so today was ” and how are my little meatballs today?”. lol
They had to run for work and school but, we in-joyed a few hilarious youtube videos and laughed and laughed. Nothing like those great belly laughs to turn you around.

Dropped back in on my friend who is landscaping her new house and we then had a great discussion, a glass of wine and she sent me home with chicken breast and fettucini for dinner.
I am still hot, I am still tired, but….my overall cheerful energy won over the potential of a moderate tantrum.
Great turn around for you too!

Pandora's avatar

@Coloma I know what you mean about being lucky and finding a station playing your favorites. I remember being stuck in traffic about 2 months ago with my husband and we first enjoyed (i’m horrible at names) a station that always calls people on behalf of someone else and then they play the conversation. Its just funny as heck what people will say on the air. Then we found a station playing back all the old songs from when we first met. When we had to pull over to use the bathroom, we raced in and out so we could get back to listening to our songs. The trip took us 2 hours longer but we didn’t mind a bit. It was a fun trip down memory lane. I even felt a bit sad when we arrived at our destination because they were still playing.But the sadness didn’t last since I got to see my son that day. It had been a year since we were all together. My world always feels perfect when we are all together.

bkcunningham's avatar

How is everyone doing?

I’m still on task, focusing on my center and seeking peace. I have been feeling really good inside lately and it has made me focus my attention on the outside. Thanks to a casual post by another person here on Fluther, I’ve made up my mind to start being honest with myself about my weight and start becoming really mindful of my caloric intake and physical activity.

I hope each of your paths on this earth is going smoothly without many rough spots. I have been thinking about you @Pandora. I hope you are doing okay. How is your friends employment situation going? I hope you and your husband smiling at each other with lots of love in your eyes.

augustlan's avatar

I thought about this experiment yesterday, while, of course, driving! Caught myself muttering unkind things several times, and each time I did, this thread popped into my head, reminding me to think more charitably. Still a work in progress.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Pandora I f***ed up big time yesterday and almost bagged my first pedestrian. I had three other drivers try to kill me in about ¼ mile and I was angry when I got to the next intersection for a right hand turn. Then some idiot was poking along in the direction I wanted to go, so I waited for them, and I took off right as a lady walked into the crosswalk. Crap. She jumped back.

Coloma's avatar

Haha…^^^ Oh driving! I have made a new friend, a young guy that is cooking at our local ” Take a bite ” deli in my tourist town. I was teasing him about his Elvis hairdo and crazy ear plug earrings recently and he has taken a fancy to my humor. Came up to me yesterday in another store and started chatting with me. Later he made me the best BLT sandwich I have ever had at the deli! Coloma scores points with the new deli guy. lolol

Pandora's avatar

@bkcunningham No word yet on the job front for my friend. My husband and I have been busy with company this week but we are ok. I actually got him to go to the gym with me yesterday. I was so glad that I over did it, and had a crappy night. Tylenol did not help. LOL We have a whole weekend to ourselves this weekend so plenty of time for just us. “Wink!” Didn’t have much time to think of the experiment this week since I was focused on company and the traffic ticket I got. OUCH! It hurt. :( I did remember to be polite and civil to the officer even though I felt my head was going to explode. I may have been speeding but not the speed he said. I told myself he wasn’t lying but his equipment was faulty and he was just doing his job. In turn he was very polite.
@Adirondackwannabe Oh, my! That happened to me once. I felt so horrible. These things happen. Hopefully you learned that a little bit more patience on your end can possible help avoid killing someone next time. To the person who almost got ran over, they where probably thinking some jerk just tried to kill me because their pants where on fire. Are you listening to soothing music or something that may make the drive fun?
@Coloma You go girl! LOL He probably appreciated that you may have been teasing him but you still saw the person under all that stuff and didn’t shun him for his odd appearance.
@augustlan I’m still working it out day by day myself. I know a few times on fluther recently I may not have been as charitable as I could have been because I let time dictate my response instead of waiting for later when I could’ve chosen my words wisely.

Pandora's avatar

This experiment has worked out in more ways than one. I have finally moved into my NEW HOME and we are so happy with how everything went. My husband had joined my experiment which really wasn’t too difficult for him because he’s always unassuming about everyone, but he was getting crabby and this got him back on track.

Well back to my portion of things. The experiment worked out so well that the former owners knew they would sell the house to us and even left a their patio set. They were so easy to work with and did all the minor repairs we requested even though they were going through a rough time themselves. The wife had a medical condition that couldn’t have acted up at a worse time. Had they stayed in the area, I could’ve seen easily being friends with them and I don’t make friends easily. They were very sweet. I’m almost done unpacking and only hard part is going back to clean the old place.

Oh, so back to my husband. His change is that he no longer feels the need to move on and he has a new boss who is awesome and he will soon move to another building away from the people who are miserable and bitter and like nothing more than to make co-workers miserable. I haven’t been this happy in a long time.
So how is everyone else doing?

Coloma's avatar

@Pandora How wonderful! Ride the happy wave!
Congrats on your new home….moving, ugh…but once the work is done it is so fun fixing up a new house! :-)
Good over here, I am still in boneless mode this morning after a killer massage yesterday and had a blast with my daughter and her boyfriend the other night.

He wanted to cook dinner for me and it was really, really GOOD! I am impressed! Then, we all had a rousing and hilarious bantering session that had us almost witting our pants. My kids….we are a walking Saturday nite Live show. Those two… a funnier and quick witted pair don’t exist.:-)

Pandora's avatar

@Coloma Thanks! Funny you should mention that. My daughter also has been dating a guy for 10 months and things are really moving quickly with them too. He also can cook and is right on par with our humor as well. A few month back we ran into them at a fair and I could only spot him first through the crowd. He was grinning from ear to ear because he was holding her hand as they made it through the crowd. Its so good to see her with someone who really is crazy about her. They plan to move in together as soon as he gets his orders to move back in our area. Well he has the orders but has to wait till March. In the mean time she has moved back in with us because she would have to renew her lease and the rent was going up. So when he settles back they are both going to move in together and get a bigger place. Hers was too tiny. 650 square feet and they wanted 1200 a month.
My mom saids she is happy to move back in with us because they were charging too much for a prison cell. LOL

Coloma's avatar

@Pandora Yes, same here, it is SO great to see your child being adored by a really worthy person, as it should be! :-)

augustlan's avatar

I think the election made me a bit snarky. The temptation was too much to resist in a couple of cases, but I see it now and am working on it.

Pandora's avatar

@augustlan I can’t really blame you. LOL I think it wasn’t been helped by the billions of ads every 5 seconds. The next day my husband pointed out to me how there were no election ads running. We were so happy about that. It was getting really annoying to watch tv for fear of seeing another election ad. I started letting it get to me as well but after a while I realized it didn’t mattered. People were going to vote how they planned to all along. So no point in getting upset over it.

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