Here is something I have been working with recently. It’s okay to have a bad attitude, even a really bad attitude but only for a very short amount of time – say an afternoon or a day. Having a bad attitude is sometimes our way of recognizing how we feel. Life isn’t always rosy and we don’t always feel great about it and it is healthy to acknowledge our feelings.
Acknowledging how we feel is not going to hurt us. Rather, it will likely help us understand what is going on in our internal world and perhaps figure out how to make links to our external world so we can start to change what needs to be changed. So, as a form of acknowledgement, a bad attitude is okay. As a way of being though, a bad attitude can be very detrimental. The mind set in which we allow ourselves to exist will very quickly take over as what we believe to be reality. And what we tend to believe internally is nearly always reflected back to us by our external world.
If we believe that the world is a kind and benevolent place we will often see examples of this around us. If we believe that others are out to get us, that tends to be the experience we have with those in our lives over and over. This is why people tend to attract the same type of partner and friends again and again and again. Until we shift, our world will remain the same.
So, when I woke up this morning with the same bad attitude that I carried with me yesterday, I realized that I had to make a shift. My mind was feeling so moody and frustrated and out of control. Thank goodness though I am a pretty positive person in general because as I went to make some tea this morning, I felt a glimmer of my bubbly self rise to my emotional surface and invite me to choose a new perspective. Feeling different I knew was a choice.
I think it must be hard for a lot of people to recognize that our feelings are a choice. In fact, just reading this might frustrate some readers. If that was your reaction, I understand why you would feel that way.
It’s true though that our feelings and our thoughts are a choice. Just like we can choose where to focus our attention or what activities to engage in for the day, we get to choose our thoughts and feelings. The process of being able to do this well though does become easier over time if one is committed to a mindfulness process – whether it be meditation, writing, exercise, or even talking out loud to one’s self as I tend to often do in the car. :)
There are times in life that are more (or a LOT more) challenging than others. Throughout it all, we get to choose our attitude. It’s easier to start practicing this when life is not too difficult so you have some saving grace to draw on when life gets really out of control. Know that your quality of life is extremely affected by the attitude you chose to have each day.
If you are unable to internally cultivate a new frame of mind, use the resources around you; watch a funny movie, listen to an inspiring TED talk on-line, play with an animal, go outside to breathe some fresh air and soak in the sunshine. While our internal world greatly affects our experience of our outer world, there are many resources around you to help pull you into a better frame of mind. Use what you need as you work to cultivate your inner strength. It’s all a process and you are definitely capable of getting there.
In closing, here is something that I recently wrote on a Post-it Note that I carry with me daily. It’s my reminder and promise to myself to have a good attitude especially when navigating difficult chapters in life.
I choose my attitude which influences my experiences and determines my quality of life!
You can do it!