My wife wouldn’t want me to tell you this, but sometimes she wakes up grumpy. Other times, she lets me sleep in. Okay, bad joke. But grouchiness comes easier to me than you might think. Mostly I’m cheerful, chipper, upbeat. But there are times when I look like a pug-nosed pup. John Wilkins has been dubbed the grumpiest man in England. This 63-year-old pub owner spends most of his days grousing. About the weather. Modern music. Cell phones. “I always like to tell the truth,” he says, “which can sometimes get me in trouble. My wife asked me what I thought of her new dress and I told her… it reminded me of a pair of curtains my mother used to have.” Are you ready for a major surprise? John and his wife are no longer together. “I think because she couldn’t take my truthfulness,” he admits. Grumpiness may be okay for a pub owner, but not a humorist. Please understand though, I’ve been watching the news these days and I find myself grouchy. If you find yourself in the same boat, here are four reasons to give up on grumpiness.
1. The word grumpy rhymes with frumpy, lumpy, bumpy, and dumpy. Enough said.
2. Frowning adds decades to your life. I have met teenagers so glum they looked like they were 94. Frowning makes you homely. There’s a reason we don’t yell, “Prunes!” before snapping family photos.
3. Grumpy people have fewer friends, fewer parties and fewer birthday presents. They leave a trail of grumps behind wherever they go. So forget a facelift, just grin more. Smiles leave wrinkles in all the best places.
4. Joy is contagious too. As surely as a soft answer turns away wrath, true joy trumps grumpiness. Not always right away, but it will. Real joy can’t be cornered or contained, and it brings life to those who choose it.
Few people ever had more reason to be terminally crabby than a man named Paul. Beaten, harassed, and tossed in prison, he even had the religious people after him. But Paul had met Jesus and that changed everything. His joy was contagious and unstoppable. Here’s what he wrote in a letter to the Corinthians translated in the Message, “These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us…The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” May that be our perspective all day today. And tomorrow morning whoever wakes us up may be surprised to find that they’re waking up happy.
P.S. Let us know: What helps you trump grumpiness?