Moodiness calls for self-awareness and
a desire not to give in to your feelings

Moodiness is a condition all singles have to fight, and how successfully we do that shows others our level of maturity.

Of course we all have emotions, but when grouchiness takes over, we risk being someone others don't want to be around. You've had to deal with grumpy people. You know how nerve-wracking it can be to cater to their feelings.

Unfortunately, each of us feels we're entitled to be crabby at times. I know I've made that mistake frequently throughout my life. As circumstances seemed to gang up against me, I resented it and often became short-tempered. Needless to say, I wasn't pleasant to be around.

I wish I could tell you I've completely eliminated that attitude from my life, but it's something I have to constantly work at.

Conquering moodiness starts with self-awareness

You can't solve a problem until you admit it exists. Too often we're not sure enough of ourselves to deal with our flaws. However, the truth is that nobody is perfect, and a truly mature person is willing to acknowledge their imperfections.

We all do a lot of rationalizing--including me. We excuse our nasty behavior, as if we're entitled to snap at other people and generally be a pain in everybody's neck. Sheesh!

To guard your speech, you have to apply the Golden Rule. Ask yourself, "Is what I'm saying to people and the tone I'm using the way I would want to be talked to?"

This self-monitoring isn't easy, but it's absolutely necessary. After you say something mean, you can apologize all you want, but the scar on the other person's heart still remains. They think less of you and maybe always will. It's smarter to stop hurtful words before they come out of your mouth.

Watch for moodiness triggers

Moodiness rarely comes from nowhere. It has causes, and you need to become a detective to hunt down what sets you off. It may be lack of sleep, eating the wrong things, physical pain like a headache or PMS for women, stress, or some personal defeat or slight. Once you recognize that you are moody, you can usually think back on what caused it.

Part of serenity is developing a thicker skin when it comes to the insults of life. Hurt is going to happen; there's no escaping it, so we all need to learn how to minimize its effect on our us.

Some physical causes, like depression or chronic pain may need a medical doctor's help to deal with.

Being pleasant despite moodiness

Now for the really hard part: treating others pleasantly when you're in a bad mood. As a Christian, I rely constantly on the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit.

After decades of Bible study and prayer, I am increasing in my knowledge of God and what he expects of me. Needless to say, he doesn't approve of us being mean-spirited to others.

It takes surrender of our desire to snap at people when we're in a bad mood, but God will give each of us real help in controlling our tempers.

I'm far from perfect in this. I know it will be a lifelong battle for me, but thank God, I'm at least improving. My faith calls me to try to treat people as Jesus would. That's tough when we don't feel good, but this is not about me or you; it's about God and what he wants from us.

This is not a copout or a quick-and-simple solution by any means. It's hard work to obey God instead of our feelings, but it starts with the belief that God knows better than we do. Most of us take half a lifetime to learn that. Some of us never do.

If you're not a Christian, the best advice I can give you is still the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated. Grit your teeth and stifle the urge to give someone a piece of your mind. Remember the times someone snapped at you and resolve to be better than that. There's too much misery in the world as it is; we don't need to add to it with hurtful words.

Moodiness is one of the most difficult challenges singles face. Part of maturity is struggling through life when you don't feel well, mentally or physically. Those of us who follow Christ have a decided advantage.

In any case, love for others means we don't inflict the kind of hurt that has been directed against us. We can't let our pain become contagious.

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