I walked into barnes and noble thinking about how fitting it is that the words “sour” and “dour” are so alike—in both meaning and in spelling, but how unfair, almost blasphemous, it is when words sound so much alike but are polar opposites like “happy” and “crappy.” that’s the way my mind was acting and why I decided I needed to break free.

So, doing something I usually reserve for all other seasons, I decided to take a real lunch break and get away from the office, hopping in my car and wandering over to the bookstore for some R&R (and some sugary starbucks).

There are a few places that are able to snap me back into place and wipe away any “sourness” and “dourness” I may be feeling (or otherwise self-pity): the always awe-inspiring Anthropologie, sometimes Forever21, a pretty park on a clear day, and a bookstore. Today was a bookstore kind of day. And it made the perfect prescription.

I’d gotten bent out of shape over this and that and spent last night in a complainy whiny mood that did nothing but pull me down further because I don’t like to complain and whine but you do it because you think it will make you feel better but it just makes it worse. See how that sentence just turned around and around in a circle? That’s the logic behind complaining. It leads nowhere, even if logic tells you it ought to.

I started listening to this podcast by Boundless.org, which is affiliated with Focus on the Family, but is aimed (I presume) at young adults/singles. The people who host it are down-to-earth and funny but insightful (which if you ask me, is the best kind). Anyway one of the hosts was talking about a friend she has who really likes this guy and he leads her on (by way of not saying “no”) in a limbo-sort-of-relationship that is not serious but is not “friends-only.” one of those her-heart-is-on-the-line but he-gets-to-eat-his-cake-too kind of situations that I believe we’re all too familiar with. The hosts battled it out and one of the ladies offered advice that I thought was quite fitting (and which, not un-tangentially, goes along with my statement above): That the woman in the situation—who feels heavily invested and has no desire to leave the “relationship” she’s spent months “building”–needs to do exactly what she doesn’t want to do: Instead of giving more, give less.

We think that by giving more (of our hearts), we’re drawing someone closer. But in situations like this, it seems that you just end up giving away more of yourself—to someone who doesn’t appreciate it. The better way to salvage the situation is to give less, because if it jolts him into waking up, then great! But if he just lets it be, at least you didn’t keep trudging down that path.

So it often is, that the way we think we’re making progress and getting what we want, takes us the exact opposite, tangled way.

Regardless, after 45 minutes trolling around Barnes and Noble and sipping my way and paging my way through various book jackets and magazine covers, I came back uplifted and encouraged, with the self pity and poor mood from yesterday having melted away with last drops of a white chocolate mocha.