The Hate-O-Meter is working overtime

Outside the wall of windows and the double doors that lead to our backyard is what appears to be an indomitable task – a mountain of brittle leaves, fallen from the half dozen trees that dot the yard. In the summer months those trees provide wonderful cover and a refuge from the hot sun. In the fall and winter those trees are a menace. It takes weeks to clear out leaves and fruit.

I love them and I hate them.

In my driveway are two vehicles. One a full-size van that has carried us on road trips to the mountains, to the beaches and to several national parks. The other is a commuter car that is reliable, economical and fun to dart in and out of traffic in. Both vehicles have road-rash and battle scars that can attest to their durability and reliability. They have been a blessing to my family. But every time I get into one of those cars I moan and start it up I have a laundry list of complaints from the dings in the doors, that squeaking noise one makes when I take a corner or the drum roll the other makes when I make the same turn.

We are fickle things.

This seems to be the plight of the modern man and woman. We have a love-hate relationship with every noun and every facet in life. Or is it just me? Point at something, any random thing and I can immediately tell you what I love and hate about it with just a few exceptions. I’m so good at the love-hate game that Super Mom came up with a game of her own.

We were getting ready to head out on a date when she walked up to me with a rubber band.

“Gimme your hand,” she demanded.

“Huh?”

“Your hand – any hand, give it to me,” to which I extended my left hand in response.

She slipped the rubber band over my hand onto my wrist and said, “There. From now on, any time you say something negative about something or someone, you have to switch the rubber band from one hand to the other.”

“Huh?” was all I seemed to be able to utter during this strange, brief exchange.

“Yeah, it’s ridiculous and so are all of your complaints.

“Ooookay!”

And so began the little game of Hate-O-Meter, where I measure the positive versus the negative in my daily interactions with the world in my perpetual search for happiness and becoming the perfect man. The happiness part is a constant, the perfect man part – still striving.

Strange things have been happening since I started that little game. I’m more conscious of the things I say or even how it’s said because that little rubber band around my wrist weighs heavily on my mind knowing that having to switch it from one wrist to the other is a constant reminder that I failed yet again in what ultimately is a simple endeavor: watch what you say!

Years ago, someone sent this tome with a challenge to think of the words each morning before starting the day:

Watch your THOUGHTS, for they become WORDS.
Watch your WORDS, for they become ACTIONS.
Watch your ACTIONS, for they become HABITS.
Watch your HABITS, for they become CHARACTER.
Watch your CHARACTER, for it becomes your DESTINY.

Occasionally I remember these words and pause because it really starts with a thought and by knowing the chain by which each thought can eventually become reality I can either be a blessing to someone in need, or I can add to another person’s burdens.

Just like those trees and that pile of leaves outside my house, knowing and doing are two very separate and distinct things but it is my reaction to the challenge that determines my destiny.

“Decisions determine destiny” (Thomas S. Monson)

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12 Responses to The Hate-O-Meter is working overtime

  1. Hema says:

    Sometimes those little things really add up. I get a chance to listen to a radio show on occasion when I drive home from work. They have a section they refer to as “First World Problems”. Some of those little things we love to hate are part of the big dream that our parents and grandparents sacrificed for in leaving their second or third world homeland. I am glad I have a comfortable house with a tree that creates that pile of leaves for me to despise. Those little things are often attached to the big things we love. I have been so blessed I have found ways to complain about it. What a world.

    (I have an idea for your rubber band game. Instead of switching hands, add another rubber band, and if you get too many on your wrists you can start putting some around your ankles. That way we will all know how grumpy you are and avoid you if necessary.)

    • Seti Matua says:

      That’s perfect – don’t be surprised if I show up to church wearing a sleeve of rubber bands!

      • Hema says:

        Just repent and you can cut them off. You can even leave them on the pew next to the Cheerios and candy wrappers so that the young men will have more to pick up… another one of those darn first world problems that annoy me to death. haha.

      • Seti Matua says:

        Bro, I read that wrong and thought, “Why would I chop off my arms?” That was followed by the moral dilemma, “Without arms I can’t help clean up the chapel and I’m not gonna pick up used Kleenex and all the other foul things I find with my teeth!” Yes, this is another major annoyance for me. Thanks for the subject matter hahaha!

  2. Magic says:

    Awesome article Set. As I was reading I thought to myself that if I had to do the rubber band thing I probably instead of switching to the other arm, would just pull it real tight and snap myself with it!….lol only because im not sure if the ease of just merely switching the rubber band to the other hand would help me become better because like all of us it’d probably just become (referring back to your quote) thought=word, word=action, action=habit, habit=character. And thus just become normal. with the pain, or mark on my wrist, from snapping myself hopefully it’d help me to be a better person, say/think nicer things and eventually strive closer in being that perfect man! thx for the thought Set. always good to read things that make you say hmmmmmmm….lol

    • Seti Matua says:

      Hey Magic,
      Man that would be a good idea until you get used to the self-inflicted wounds. Also, if you have ugly skin like mine it might be an improvement. Anyway, that’s definitely worth a try. I need to do everything I can to be a better human being. Thanks for visiting and especially for your comments.

  3. Lloyd says:

    Very much like the horsehair shirt idea Sir Thomas Moore employed years ago. Time was I would have had an armful of rubber bands, or scars from snapping myself (which is were I thought Super Mom was headed when you described the game at first), but now, as I’ve aged, I’ve become much more passive and introspective. Lots of things to hate, I’m sure, but rarely worth the effort, or the moral cost.

  4. I became aware of something along the lines of hating this past couple of weeks. I discovered that when one looks outside of oneself to identify those whom one considers is passing unnecessary judgment or hating on them, one is really just looking into a mirror!

    I had just gone through a lil’ episode of feeling like I was being judged by some holier-than-thou members of my congregation that came to visit me during the week. I again got asked why I wasn’t able to attend my church services every Sunday, to which I carefully explained how my school schedule was such that the only days I had available to work were Saturdays & Sundays. It irritated me that they had asked me this, even though I had gone through all the proper channels & clearly explained to my Church leaders what my situation would be over the next two years as I undertake an accelerated Nursing program.

    Of course I know better than to complain to my spouse about it. I mentioned it to him over dinner that night, that I was again asked about my lack of Sunday church attendance & wondered why they didn’t already know that seeing as I’d already told them at the outset. He chided me and said “you were probably dealing with some newbies that didn’t know your situation.” (They weren’t “newbies”!) Anyways I remember posting a rant about haters & being judged on facebook that night. I quoted the “Going to church doesn’t make you any more a Christian, than standing in a garage makes you a car!” and other such expressions so that if by chance they happened upon my FB page – they’d see how irritated I was by their visit! I got back a bunch of comments from my FB friends expressing their love & appreciation for me, and encouraging me to look up & surge ahead instead of looking down. Although vanity made me smile within for all my “supporters”, I suddenly realized that I was the JUDGE in this situation. I was the one hating on these people & yet was content to have my support network rally around me & cheer me on! For shame Wanda! For shame! I haven’t removed that FB entry, because of all the comments my friends posted in response. So instead I’m going to use it as a reminder that whenever I start pointing fingers at others, yep sorry but I’m gonna use that saying “there’s three pointing right back at me!”

    • Seti Matua says:

      Don’t hate! LOL I know what you mean and I have experienced it myself. There was a time when I thought, “Leave me alone I’m a grown man and I know what I’m supposed to do.” Now I have a better (healthier) perspective on those who visit me – They are doing what they feel is right and they are concerned for me. I also know that the constant reminder is a good thing for me because I often forget what is best for me.

      This is only my perspective Wanda but I get a feeling from your comments that you feel the same way. You have a very sound understanding of who you are and what works best for you and applaud your strength. Thanks for sharing your insight. I’m always grateful for your comments.

      • Wow, thanks Seti, that’s a real compliment! I, alongside the rest of your followers up in here, look forward to reading your posts. It’s really good to take a break from the ole text books & research sites, and delve into the world of Seti and the Matua family! I especially enjoy it because my siblings live so far away and connecting with your world, makes me feel like I have a sibling nearby. Hope you will continue your posts into the new year brother! God bless you and your family to have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

  5. LyfesLyfe says:

    I love the rubberband idea! The comment regarding snapping it is how this rubber and craze started. Dawn Staley used it in college and use to snap it anytime she made a mistake. She mentioned it in an interview and people started doing the same and even wearing the office rubber bands for fashion. Then Livestrong patented the yellow rubber and the rest is history.

    Supermom is awesome. It’s take the littlest things for one to realize how things like your thoughts can have a great deal of impact on the energy that comes back to you.

    Wonderful post as always Seti.

    • Seti Matua says:

      Didn’t know that about Dawn Staley – wish I had come up with the idea long ago. Thanks as always for your comments and for being such a great supporter of our blogging efforts.

      Malo!

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