Pennie Hunt: Today I Learned A Lesson

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By Pennie Hunt, Columnist

“Are you always this positive?” 

This is the No. 1 question I get asked when people meet me in person.

My answer is a very quick, “No!”

I write and speak about happiness, love and seeing the positive side of life. I also write and speak about grief, loss and sadness. We all have a stew of emotions that we carry around. 

Yes, I do my best to see the good side of everything and I encourage others to do the same, but there are moments when I slip. When I do, my husband will say, “That wasn’t very Pennie-Hunt-dot-com-like,” referring to my website, which is packed with my uplifting quotes and writings. 

Yesterday was one of those days when my action was not very “Pennie-Hunt-dot-com-like.”

This week I finished my third book and sent it off to the publisher. After many months in the mental creation and writing process, I was ecstatic to be handing it over. 

That ecstasy was fleeting as I quickly moved into the reality of knowing it was not really finished. Now comes a process of back and forth with my editor, proofreader and layout designer. All these steps rattle a different set of my nerves. 

My lovely project manager, Dana, keeps these moving pieces flowing. She has been playing middle person between me and the designer for weeks to create the vision I had in my mind for the book cover. Yesterday, I opened an email containing what I thought would be the final version only to find it had not been tweaked correctly according to my last requests.

Hurriedly, I sent back an email reiterating the last directions and expressing my concerns. When I received her response, it was filled with apologetic comments. I was a bit confused until I reread the email I had sent. 

It was strong. It sounded grumpy. It was definitely NOT “Pennie-Hunt-dot-com-like!” I quickly realized why I received the over-apologetic email response. 

I wanted to crawl under the covers and begin the day again. I wanted to take back the email. All the positivity I promote and encourage others to do was instantly sucked from my body. I had a vision of how my email must have hit her, how it must have ruined her day.

I felt like a failure.

I quickly sent her an email saying I was sorry about the way my email must have come across to her and blamed it on the inhumaneness of communicating through technology. Then I sent her a second email apologizing again. 

Past lessons that I have written about came pouring through my head. I began beating myself up with my own comments: you can’t take back words; words hold power; be kind; snd yes, the one that hits me like a dagger, “that wasn’t very Pennie-Hunt-dot-com-like!”

My mind was in rare form letting the negative self-talk jab me with punch after punch. Then my heart kicked in. It pushed back by reminding myself that I am human and I make mistakes. The punching from my mind and the pushback from my heart continued most of the day. It takes time for the heart to be strong enough to squelch the power of the mind. 

As with most of my life lessons, this was a hard one. As much as we all try, none of us are perfect. When we slip, we should apologize and fix what we can, then see an opportunity to practice patience, understanding and acceptance of ourselves. Forgive the humanness in ourselves, and when you are on the receiving end of someone’s bad day, frustration, confusion or anger, offer them patience, understanding and acceptance.  

Today is a new day. I know I will never be perfect, but today I plan to be a little better than the person that I was yesterday.

The next time I am asked, “Are you always this positive?” 

My answer will be a very quick, “No! I try, but I’m not perfect and still have many lessons to learn.”

Pennie’s Life Lesson: Today, don’t try to be perfect, just try to be a little better than the person you were yesterday.

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