On Monday, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Truly. I was in a foul mood for absolutely no reason. I mean, I got to work at 6:45 in the morning and was already ready to go home. You know those days?
I looked my boss in the face and said, "I apologize in advance, but I woke up on the way wrong side of the bed today and I don't know what's up."
She responded, in her calm, matter-of-fact way, "Well then I guess today will be a day of choices."
I think I took a physical step back to take in her words. The simplest thing, but so utterly profound.
A day of choices.
Sure, I was in the dumps and wanted to sucker punch even the kindest people for most of that morning. But every time something rubbed me the wrong way, I could make a decision. Respond out of my bad mood, or respond out of love. Because love isn't a feeling. Love is an action verb. A choice.
The funny thing is, as I made moment by moment decisions to respond with love, my mood changed. The little details of the day that had been driving me so crazy evaporated as my brain went into to overdrive in an attempt to love big. The act of loving made me feel love toward my customers and coworkers.
I think last Monday was an illustration of a huge principle. The feeling of love comes and goes. If you respond out of your emotions, you will be fickle and temperamental. But if you choose to respond in love, if you consciously think through loving your neighbor well, no matter how you're feeling, those choices will begin to shape your heart.
Often, I think we give ourselves a free pass to behave badly because we feel a certain way. But all that does is create a cycle of bad vibes and gunk, and everyone you encounter will get dragged into the mess, too.
It seems to me that the better thing is to escape the cycle by choosing to do so. There are always options, if we choose to see them. One will be self-serving, the other will be full of grace. And the choice is always yours.
Every day is a day of choices. Some days might be easier than others, but to set your mind on choosing love requires active thought. Try it for a day. Try it on a day you really, really would rather not. See what happens. I think you'll be filled to the brim, and ready for more.