In a moment of epiphany I have realised that my new lifestyle has made me more happy and less snappy. And I have to say that feels good. I would be kidding you, and myself, if I said that I never snapped at all anymore but I have come to the conclusion that I am much more self aware and much more self controlled than I was before, and than some of the other people who I spend time with are. I am not sure why this came as a surprise but I guess that sometimes it takes an external influence to put your own life and behaviour into perspective.
I did know that I was happier of course; I post about it often enough. I suppose that I knew also that I was less snappy but I had thought that was because I ‘wasn’t allowed to be’. So my realisation has been that actually I have changed. What began as something that I was consciously trying to do, has become something that I do naturally. I am less likely to snap generally at people than I was before. I am less likely to harbour a grudge and more likely to talk things through in a calm and considered way. I am more likely to consider the effect what I say may have on others, and to rephrase it into a way which is more appropriate to the circumstances.
The realisation came this past week when I spent the week working closely with two colleagues and a group of pupils. It was part of our school activities week programme and so we were working outwith our usual environment. I found myself, more than once, being snapped at. I also noticed that a snap was often met with another snap and this led to a bit of an atmosphere at times. Despite having become more aware and in control of my own behaviour, my tolerance for others engaging in snap type retorts has lowered. I tried asking in an open way what was wrong and got no response; again, a bit alien to how we do things at home and I felt frustrated that the rest of my world could not adopt my more happy less snappy approach.
Teachers are, of course, not only skilled in the use of the snap. There is a tone, a volume and an array of gestures that are part of the tools of the trade we use. To keep control over 30 lively teenagers can be no mean feat so we all use ‘the look’, ‘the voice’ and ‘the stance’ that says very quickly to anyone around, ‘Back off – I am in charge!’ I suppose that having the belief that respect is earned rather than demanded makes it easier to be calm and reason openly and honestly. Living with a working model has certainly made a difference to me and I saw that quite clearly last week. It really has become part of what I do and who I am.
Not that I am any sort of pushover. I can, and do, step it up when required but I think that being in control and treating others with respect allows you to lead by example so that ultimately things run pretty smoothly. I am not submissive to anyone other than HisLordship and I do not intend to be. But to be respectful to those around you and to be aware of and in control of your responses is a powerful tool when managing others. I have to admit I was irritated by the odd snaps that took place around me, but I kept well away from the jaws and I wasn’t bitten myself. So I definitely feel that my training in being less snappy has allowed me to be more happy, not just in my relationship but in my life beyond it.