I guess you could say my self-help journey started when I was a child, probably sometime in middle school. My mother gave me a piece of paper with a poem on it titled “Attitude” by Charles Swindoll. Here is a shortened version…
I hung it on my bulletin board in my room along with pictures of family and friends and other inspirational items, and I kept the poem into adulthood. Eventually through all the moves from home to college, to another college, to a different state and graduate school, and many different apartments in between, I lost the poem. Fortunately, I didn’t lose the meaning or the message. This was something that has really stuck with me throughout my life… the role that one's attitude plays in one's life, from school, career and achievement, to home life and relationships, to our basic sense of contentment and happiness in life. Attitude (along with our perceptions and mindset) is everything. When we are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, tired, insecure, or even when we are feeling wronged by someone or a situation, it can be easy to have a negative attitude. But what purpose does this serve? Does it make us feel better? Does it give us hope that things will improve? Does it empower us, making us feel that if we work hard and persist, that we can accomplish or overcome whatever it is, or that we can make choices that will improve a situation? I’m gonna say no, it doesn’t provide these things. It makes us feel worthless, helpless, powerless, hopeless, insecure, and even angry, frustrated and resentful.
So what would it look like to approach a situation with a different attitude, something more positive and helpful? And how would this feel?
Certainly we cannot have a positive attitude all of the time, and this takes effort. But that’s the point here. If you have enough self-awareness to examine your thoughts and reactions, then you can change them. So the next time you're feeling stressed, overwhelmed, tired, insecure, or feeling wronged, and especially when the situation just doesn’t seem to be improving, take a closer look at your thoughts. You really are 100% responsible for your responses to situations. You really do have 100% control over your attitude. It’s up to you to be willing to acknowledge when you have a crummy attitude, forgive yourself for being human, and ‘lose the ‘tude’ so that you can go back to being that awesome human being you were born to be.