Let’s face it. Some days our attitudes may leave a lot to be desired.
Reality: Some days are better than others and some days (months?) it’s not so easy to see the positive and to respond positively (revisit last week’s blog post I Am Who I Am and you’ll see what I mean!). Sometimes it’s all too easy to fall into the negativity trap, especially when the world is delivering some pretty hard knocks.
We all may know and have heard the saying that someone was “born with a bad attitude”. But, I mean really, how many newborn babies can you honestly say have done something to really offend you? (Ok, other than maybe peeing on you when you change their diaper and that’s cute, really, but only if it’s a baby.)
So, where in the world does a negative inclination come from? Should we attribute negativity to the teenage years when hormones begin to rage, personalities shift from childhood into emerging adulthood, and dispositions become less sweet? But what happens when the negative attitude continues into adulthood? What then? How do we respond to negativity while some days we are blindly searching for positivity ourselves?
Martha Washington said, “I am still determined to be cheerful and to be happy in whatever situation I may be, for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions and not upon our circumstances.”
We surely all don’t live according to Martha’s words, although some of us may strive to. So, what can we do to portray a positive attitude and be determined and happy in whatever situation we may find ourselves in?
I think the first step in having a positive attitude is realizing that we, as well as everyone else in the world, are NOT perfect. We are human and, therefore, we are bound to make mistakes. Accepting our own flaws is one thing, accepting another person’s is another. We set high expectations for ourselves, and sometimes even higher ones for those around us. Once we acknowledge that others will make mistakes and will need our understanding about them, we may be more graceful with our reactions and attitudes towards them.
We need to cultivate a forgiving heart. People are going to make mistakes whether it is out of ignorance, negligence, insecurity, or laziness. Mistakes will happen even with the best of intentions. Having an antagonistic attitude towards others will not help most situations. Yes, life is unfair and can deal some pretty big blows, but those are circumstances. Circumstances we cannot always change, but we can control how we react to them.
Striving to look for the positive, not simply dwelling on the negative, will help as well. When we look for the positives out of a negative situation, we are able to see the efforts that have been made and possibly understand where things have gone wrong. Sure, mistakes may have occurred, and things may have turned out completely different from the way we expected them to, but if we can acknowledge the efforts instead of the results, we may realize that it can’t be all bad. Our attitude does not need to be adverse when dealing with strife and conflict: when life gives you lemons – make lemonade! Remember, after the rain the sun will shine, and you may even find a rainbow.
Offer suggestions, if possible and applicable, and if not, then say only what is needed and move on. Fixation on an issue, especially if we feel negative about it, will not help our attitude towards the given situation. Moving on and moving forward will allow us to maintain a positive outlook and focus on something else in order to avoid cynicism.
In dealing with others who show us undesirable attitudes (you may know some Negative Nellies), let’s try to remember that their demeanor may not have much, if anything, to do with us to begin with. Some individuals are unhappy for reasons within themselves and may be having a difficult time dealing with issues which are deeply rooted personally. Remember: It’s not all about you – and I mean that in a good way! It took me a long time to realize (and I’m still working on it!) that someone else’s attitude is not a reflection of, nor does it necessarily need to affect, me.
There once was a girl, (she was a lovely sort of girl), who loved to write. She wrote and she wrote and she wrote. She wrote so that her home was filled with the delightful sound of clicking keys and moments of “Aha! That’s a great idea!” as she delved into her inner self to bring her thoughts to life. The girl believed her ideas were clever, she wasn’t sure that others would agree, but still she wrote.
As time wore on, life continued to toss the lovely girl around on its sea of “perpetuality”: perpetual demands, responsibilities, expectations, letdowns, and even betrayals. The girl was troubled. She began to feel unenthusiastic, pessimistic, and even cynical about her life, her dream, and her goals. She tried to stay positive, but it grew increasingly difficult. She began to question herself and she let doubt creep in. She worried and she worried and she worried. She began (read: continued) to compare herself to others. She placed her value on what others said or thought.
One day, something happened to the girl. It wasn’t a huge something but it was big enough to make her think. Something clicked in her mind and she realized that she had been letting her attitude dictate her responses to a lot of things. It wasn’t that the world was continually trying to knock her down – it was that she was ALLOWING her attitude to be affected by them. She decided then and there that she would set forth to alter her outlook. She knew that it wouldn’t be easy. She would strive to respond with kindness and positivity when she felt like an emotional punching bag for others. She would stand up for herself and her loved ones the best way she knew how to: with love. She would let her positive attitude permeate throughout her life. She would, in a sense, kill the negative naysayers with kindness.
AND, she would keep writing and pursuing her dream because that was EXACTLY who she was and what she needed to do.
To be continued… ❤
(Dear Readers – a continued thank you for your support! May you find your positive perspective and hold it close! Please like our facebook page, Writing For The Love of It, and come follow me on Twitter @kim_blais. I’d love to hear from you! Love and positivity, ~ K ~)