Poking a little fun at co-workers can lighten the atmosphere. Perhaps that is the motivation behind Cranky Co-Workers Day, which is observed on October 27.
"Because all of us have bad days (some more than others), here's a day when crankiness at work is actually encouraged," writes one proponent.
Well, I work in an office of one. At first I laughed, thinking how a blessing of being self-employed is not having to deal with the personalities of co-workers. But there is a unique challenge to working with and for oneself. You have an intimate relationship with yourself, since you're your own boss and employee rolled into one.
So I decided to check on how I'm treating my co-worker, i.e., myself.
What an enlightening exercise. Looking up the definition of cranky in the dictionary (I do have a dictionary with a sense of humor), I encountered some unexpected characteristics. Crankiness is more than bad temper. Am I easily angered with myself if ideas don't produce desirable results? Am I given to fretfulness over projects? Do I work erratically? All of these characteristics relate to crankiness.
Being honest, I have to admit that there are moments when I'm probably crankier with myself than I'd want to be with a supervisor or employee. Somehow, one can get into the habit of mentally berating oneself instead of gently improving. I decided this was a good reminder to practice the opposite of crankiness, i.e., grace.
Grace is a divine quality, a quality derived from God. In the original Greek, grace means "the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude" (Strong's Concordance). This divine influence is pouring out to each and every one of us inspiration, confidence, creativity. Every right idea finds its source in God, who is the divine Mind. And divine Mind unfolds its ideas in gentle rhythms of peaceful harmony.
Grace rests lightly on the heart. The light of divine Love lifts the burden of fretful care, and life resonates with newfound freedom. The tones of grace transform one's nature, until gratitude breathes through thought as naturally as breath of air.
Christ Jesus embodied the ultimate in grace. Imbued with the divine influence, his life radiated goodness. The healing power of Christ was tangibly felt by multitudes who witnessed the transforming effect of the divine influence on human minds and bodies. Truly, Jesus understood God, and the holy influence of this understanding healed the sick. A modern-day disciple of Christ, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote of grace that it is "the effect of God understood" ("Christian Science versus Pantheism," Pg. 10).
Expressing grace toward yourself and other people, you can be healed of unproductive habits of doubt, worry, or fear. Such healing is unlimited. There is no end to the divine influence pouring out from God to you.
When I first became self-employed, there was a tendency toward fretful fussiness. When several projects arrived at once, I would fret about too much to do. If no one called, I would fret about not having enough to do. As I turned to God, Love's gentle grace hushed the harping. I realized the rhythm of my business was like the soft swells of a gentle sea. I could rise with unlimited inspiration or rest in confidence, all in accord with Love's gracious unfolding of good. I realized that God governed every aspect of my being and my business. Fretful crankiness began to fall away, replaced by a sweet confidence.
By choosing to entertain the divine influence instead of cranky thoughts, a person can reform all types of negative thinking, no matter how long-standing they may be. Graciously embracing oneself opens the way to expressing increasingly consistent grace toward other people. And this can contribute to healing the larger atmosphere of thought.
Whether we are in an office of one or 100, we can fulfill the scriptural promise, "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (II Cor. 9:8).
You can visit the home page of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, at www.tfccs.com