All About Attitude

Attitude. One word contains so much meaning. Our attitude affects our life and others’ lives as well. As Winston Churchill once said, “ Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Why? Why does it affect so much?

Let’s look at the definition first (the one that fits with what I’m going for with this blog): at·ti·tude (adəˌt(y)o͞od): noun

a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior. Example: “she took a tough attitude toward other people’s indulgences”

synonyms: view, viewpoint, outlook, perspective, stance, standpoint, position,inclination, temper, orientation, approach, reaction

So…the word attitude and all those synonyms above…encompasses thoughts and feelings. What influences our thoughts and feelings? Other people, things that happen to us, things we see happening to other people…there are a myriad of things that can affect our attitude.

If you’ve read my previous blogs, you’ll have read about the divorce I went through in 2015. I will be the first to admit, I let what happened sour my attitude on a lot of things, from views on love to dancing to certain music (love songs…blech!) to certain movies to even going to certain events, because I knew my attitude would be bad and who wants to show the world a bad attitude? I know, I know, there are some people out there who don’t care. I’ve met them. And there WERE quite a few times when I didn’t care…I had a reason to have a bad attitude! A good reason! People should understand why I had one and let me have it! Right? (crickets) Right??

Nope. Wrong. I excused my bad attitude by justifying it with what happened in my divorce (along with before and after). And by doing so, I told the world that I was not in control of my thoughts and emotions. I fully admit I wasn’t in control. Shannon L. Alder says, “ The battle you are going through is not fueled by the words or actions of others; it is fueled by the mind that gives it importance.” And I was giving the battle A LOT of importance…which is understandable to a point. My life had completely changed! But…not everything was as out of control as I felt it was.

The only place I was in partial control at least was the workplace. Most of my co-workers had no idea I was going through a divorce unless I told them. Some, unfortunately, were witness to a breakdown or two, especially after an upsetting phone call or email.

After someone told me they had no idea what I was going through, I started to wonder. How could they not know? How could it be that someone who sees me everyday wouldn’t pick up on it? No, it wasn’t because she didn’t care or we didn’t talk…at least I don’t think so…but anyway, there had to be a reason why she never knew. It was because I was controlling my attitude. I was controlling my emotions and thoughts and making it work for me, being in the office. And if I could do it at the office, why not elsewhere? Why not all the time?

I’m not saying we can control our attitude every second of every day. We are human beings and we are fallible. Things affect us. BUT…we can get to a point where we think before acting out with a bad attitude…or being able to adjust it before it does any harm to us or anyone else. That’s the point I’m trying to get to. I repeat in my head, over and over, “it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter” (takes up to 3 times of repetition to make it sink in). Because most of the things that really bake my cookies, in the grand scheme of life, don’t matter. At least not enough for me to lose my cool and have a bad attitude. And even if something grandiose and terrible does happen, a cool and collected attitude can still be maintained. Does that mean you never let the emotions out and feel deeply? Of course not. But in the heat of the moment, you can control what you say, how you say it, what you do and how you do it.

Charles Swindoll says this about attitude: “ The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

This is why attitude is so important. It can affect so much in our lives, making them better or worse, and it’s all up to us. Take charge. Don’t give someone else or a situation control over you and your attitude.