Waking up to mornings with a smile on our face, sunshine, and flowers seems like a good way to start the day. Regardless of what happens next in life, getting started with a good attitude helps. When we are ill and stuck in bed we can ponder the meaning of life with a smile on our face. What is life really about? Is life about what happens to you or about how you respond to it? As you well know, life is going to happen to you regardless of your attitude. Through anything you can imagine life still clicks away; illness, disease, pain, people, war, imprisonment, bankruptcy, employment or unemployment, relationships, adversity, and oppression. The list is endless and the fact remains, how we respond to life will always be more important than what we are faced with, flat on our back sick or not. So what can we do about life’s twists and turns?
Life’s Twists & Turns should have been the name of a soap opera. Everyone’s life should have been made into a soap opera so we could sit back on our comfy sofas and have all the right answers to every life situation. It is easier to see the answers for someone else’s life because it does not grip the viewer with the same intensity or complexities as the person living through it.
Attitude is most important
Attitude is more important than our education, finances, our gifts, skills, circumstances, our appearance, our past, or our family. Think about it, we can be the most intelligent person on earth but what does that matter without wisdom and humility. Have you met a perfectly beautiful or handsome person with a bad attitude? Chances are they didn’t look so good once they started whining and complaining. Wealthy people who talk about how they struggle financially is very simply, not appealing. A person with a large loving family who does not have a heart for others outside of that family loses out on the riches of those relationships. It is the attitude that has value, not the circumstance.
Our pasts seem to be a tricky one. Many have lived through some horrendous childhood experiences and they have every right to a bad attitude. Yet that keeps people stuck and not living lives they were meant to live. Nothing helps a situation like that except a good attitude which includes true forgiveness. It can lift a person with a “past” so far above and beyond that it serves as the fertilizer of the mighty oak tree that they will become. It all depends on our attitude which determines how we respond to life. We are the only person who can choose a good attitude.
Living with a good attitude
Our attitude determines our atmosphere that we live, work and play in. Have you noticed that when you have a good attitude that you are more comfortable at home and work and you can play harder? We certainly do not have control over others but we can have control over our own minds. No matter what others are doing around you, you have the ability to have a good attitude. Sometimes we have to go into our own minds and tune out what is going on around us. Go there, enjoy your calm rational thoughts to keep your sanity and reduce your stress.
All things without grumbling or complaining, can we even imagine it? It is all about joy and having a good attitude. This does not mean to stuff feelings which hurt you and others. There are things and circumstances that have to be dealt with head-on. By no means am I suggesting that we go into fairy-tale-land. Life will present enough struggles which have to be dealt with all on its own without us adding to it with bad attitudes. My suggestion is to examine our thought life and clean it up. We put some effort into keeping our homes and vehicles tidy, why not tidy up our attitudes. It makes life more enjoyable. Notice that I am not saying it will make you happy. Joy and happiness are two different things. Joy can bring peace to any life or circumstance.
We have more to offer the world when we have a good attitude. Think about who you listen to. Hopefully, you listen to wise people. With that wisdom usually is a good attitude. It does not mean that they have been immune from hardships and heartaches. It is how they have responded to those situations that make them wise.
Attitude of laughter
A good attitude takes practice, lots of it. The more we do it, the easier it gets. As we see how much more joyful our lives become we can continue to build on that. Laughter is something that I have used for years to get through my most difficult times. While walking through hard times it always appears to be more painful than we can bear. With a bit of life behind us, we can see that we truly can survive anything regardless of how it feels at the moment. That is where laughter comes in. In the heat of the battle, life can look impossible. To me, impossible is laughable. When we look at our situations with a good attitude we can see the possibilities. We might not be able to feel them, but our attitude presents avenues that otherwise would not see.
Have you ever had times when so many things go so wrong that you start giggling? You only stop because others around you might think you have lost your mind considering the circumstances. Well, laugh as much as you want to. It truly is funny to be so sick that you cannot do things for yourself and as you find ways around it, some pretty funny stuff happens. Why would you not laugh at it, and yourself? Grumbling about it won’t get you anywhere, laugh about it. I am the funniest person I know. You too could be the funniest person you know. When you get to a place where you can just simply burst into laughter at yourself you are in a great spot. Stay there, enjoy the giggles.
Attitude through pain
Emotional and physical pain makes it very difficult to have a good attitude, there is no debating that (for those who have experienced it). When I remember that I am not the first to suffer through pain, I wonder how in tarnation did others do this. That leads me to try to understand their journeys through it. There are many empowering books and movies that depict real-life stories of people who had to endure such circumstances. The ones that draw me to the edge of my seat are the ones who either went into the situation with an established good attitude or those who learn from the experience to create a good attitude. It is a recipe for victory. Studying people who have endured war gives immense insight into the possibilities that we too can survive and rise above the devastation that life certainly can bring.
While walking through chronic illness and pain it is helpful to have a Pain Plan. No amount of well-intended sentiments can help through that kind of misery. I will show you how to make a Pain Plan in another blog. For now, realize that it helps to be prepared, armed with the good attitude of determination to get through it. There are no fluffy words or thoughts that take the pain away. Exploring your spirituality can be very useful for emotional and physical pain.
Learn how to have a good attitude
Look around to those you admire and why you admire them. Usually, it is not those who complain, gossip and fuss all the time. Slow down and think about who you truly admire. How do they deal with life, pain, suffering, disappointments, disillusionment? If you have the opportunity, ask them questions. What you see on the outside is far from what goes on in the hearts and minds of people. We can inwardly be disappointed and heartbroken but after grieving show no outward signs so that we can get on with life. Life will always continue to just keep moving and we have to make the choice whether we are going to get stuck or not. Grandmothers are notorious (usually) for good attitudes. They have already been through the trials of life and know how to rise above it.
I am a very stubborn person, part German. You better believe I see the world with a view of determination. No one is going to take away my choice in attitude. It is mine to enjoy or wallow in. The years of wallowing have been a complete waste of time and has stunted my growth. Life goes far more smoothly when I get on with it and see the sunshine every morning and feel the air that has been provided for my lungs. There is always a way to have a good attitude no matter what.
Humility of mind is a lifetime task. Getting a grip on our thought life will help clean up our attitudes.
“Fix your mind on… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – the Wisest of all
That is a tall order for most of us but it is well worth the challenge. Moving our minds toward these things help us to choose joy instead of blame or bitterness. Exercise your right to be fully in charge of your own attitude. That is one thing that no one can take from you.
Who do you know that has a good attitude? Why do you admire the people you do? Who do you think is wise? Why do you think they are wise?
Maribeth Baxter, MBEC
Donations accepted to serve others on their chronic illness journey. Maribeth Baxter, MBEC provides voluntary certified health coaching services to the financially limited during their time of crisis.