Tuesday, December 28, 2010


We've all heard it said that attitude is everything. It sounds trite, but I'm discovering how true it really is. When something happens to us, or we get bad news, the only thing we can control is our reaction to it. I used to waste a lot of time being surly and angry when things would go wrong, throwing up my hands metaphorically and wondering aloud, "Why me?"

That kind of brooding only brought me more misery and frustration. One thing about getting older is that the highs are not quite as high, but the same thing is true for the lows. They don't devastate me like they used to, but that's also because I've removed their sting. If we don't allow negative thoughts and feelings to control us, we become liberated from them.

Things continue to disappoint me, on a daily basis, but I can either allow them to bring my attitude down, or I can focus on the many good things in my life and let the bad things go. I don't want to nurse my grudges any more, because the more attention I pay to those things, the higher priority level they hold in my life.

It's hard to let certain things go. We build situations up in our minds and can be deeply hurt when it doesn't go our way and we are pushed aside, yet again, for other people or priorities. It helps to recognize that we can't control the outcome of what other people choose, but we can control our attitude and reaction. We can't help feeling disappointed, but after that initial hurt, we can stew in our rage or we can forgive and move on.

I like the idea of modeling this kind of attitude shift for my kids. There is a chance that they won't spend half of their lives angry about things that aren't in their control if I can show them a better way right out of the gate. It doesn't change the situation to alter my attitude, but it changes me; making me softer and kinder and more accepting and pliable. I like that change, from rigid to flexible.

I used to view all change as bad, and I feared any variation on my carefully laid plans, but now I understand that change is inevitable. It will happen to us, continually, but I am in charge of how I react to what disrupts my plans. Looking at it as a challenge helps me with my disappointment when things veer off course. Every time my schedule is altered, I can practice meeting the change with a positive attitude. I don't have to panic or be angry. I can feel disappointed, and then look on the bright side, and I don't have to waste precious energy and outlook punishing anyone.

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