Setting The Tone

Setting The Tone

Today we are going to set the tone
We’ll remain so measured and quiet
Today let’s refrain from the usual moans
Put verbosity on a strict diet

This is the start of a fresh new day
So you choose how you wish to play it
You can choose to be generous, gracious and gay
To improve life or instead dismay it

Today we are going to draw a clear line
Sadness past, let us look to what’s next
Choose today to move on, take the bull by the horns
Or, Dear Lord, be perpetually vexed

Today we will be a nice person to know
Abandon resentment and rage
You must know that you are a nice person to know?
So buck up now and let’s turn the page

Remember my dear you are young, bright and strong
Such potential when you’re ‘In The Zone’
Not so much when you’re petulant, angry and wrong
So today, my dear, let’s set the tone

I wrote the above poem just under 7 years ago. It was whilst I was still in the job that was doing me harm. I began to realise just how toxic this job was becoming when I started acting out; started saying inappropriate and negative things; started becoming paranoid and suspicious; not being the usually discreet, level headed and professional person I knew myself to be. My behaviour and interactions with others were becoming increasingly out of character. And it scared the living B’Jesus out of me.

I had to have a serious word with myself, try and rein myself in, reconnect with the true me, hidden within the layers of fear, stress and depression I was battling.

It seemed particularly timely to post this poem right now. Not only as it quite neatly follows my previous post (about the damage of persisting with work that is bad for your health), but also just because … well look around you? There are a lot of scared and troubled people in the world right now. I am seeing people acting out toward one another left, right and centre. This is happening in the UK right now for example (where I live) as people come to terms with the messy aftermath of a very divisive political referendum. I read about sad, angry, and scared people across the globe every time I look at the news. And I am a sad and scared person as a result. And I am disturbed by the aggression I am hearing from others around me. People who may be acting out of character, lashing out at their fellow man, for want of knowing what else to do to protect themselves from the things that scare them or they can’t understand.

Sometimes, when times are really, really tough, we have to go back to ourselves; our values; our beliefs; our own strengths and internal compass. These things may be hidden under layers of anger, or hurt, or sadness, but they are still there. Sometimes we have to take a breath, have a little word with ourselves, maybe hold our tongues rather than respond in kind to the negativity we hear from others. We may not feel influential enough as tiny individuals to impact on the messiness in the world right now. But we can choose how we engage with it. We can choose not to perpetuate it. We can choose to do better, to be better. And every single person, every single droplet of humanity who chooses to take a positive stand; to reset the tone, makes all the difference in the world. And every little droplet might, in the end, add up to an almighty wave.

Copyright © 2016 · Words and Image · Forty and Everything After


7 thoughts on “Setting The Tone

  1. We can choose to get help too. We have a shared experience. This too happened to me. Your reminder is great because it reminds me to see what happened to me in others. Funny, I can see so much in others but that time/events I choose to forget. It’s important for us all to get help when we go through that. The young Royals have that new organization called Heads Together, an initiative for mental health and awareness. It’s an important thing in this day and age. We’re beginning to see that it’s not just about deciding to be better but that there are extenuating factors that must be taken into account too. Brains in this day and age are under much stress. We cannot expect for optimal performance if we don’t take care of ourselves in new ways to match the new ways we experience trauma. Thanks for this. It inspires me to write.


    • Ah thank you so much. I’m glad that it spoke to you. You are absolutely right, people are having to cope with complex lives and stress like never before. It is entirely to be expected that sometimes this will cause them to crack and need some external assistance. And that can be the best thing that ever happened to a person. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my writing. x

      Liked by 1 person

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