Take Responsibility for your Attitude

It is much easier to push responsibility for our attitude of on to our circumstances and those around us.  In many ways, your attitude aligns with being happy.  You hear people say quite often, “She made me mad” or “If my parents would have . . . ”  The fact is that happiness is our responsibility.  It isn’t those around you, your spouse, significant other, or your friends’ responsibility to put nor keep you in a good mood.  The same with our attitude, it is ours and ours alone to put in check once in awhile.

When we’re in a bad mood or having difficulty with someone or a situation, stop and ask yourself, what do I really need right now to get a hold of myself?  I find that often what I need is a break.  I might take a walk or just sit for awhile and meditate or relax. Other times I notice that I have been just pushing myself too hard and not giving my self any time to just relax for a bit. When you wake up and you just feel crabby, like Charlie Brown used to say sometimes, take a minute to do a self-examination of where it is coming from.  You will find a weak area in your life and can be improved with just a little attention to self.  These weak areas self-identify when we take a bit of time to find them.

When we make a decision to choose the right attitude daily everything and everyone around us seems to magically improve.  When I was in high school, I had a mentor who could catch my bad attitude like radar.  I didn’t even have to speak to him or look at him and he knew that I needed a tune-up.  He would look at me and say, “take time to find your soul”.  It was a gentle reminder that my attitude was noticeable and needed attention. The phrase that you choose doesn’t matter really, it just needs to be a reminder to take charge of yourself and not predicate your attitude on those around you as well as the circumstances.

Stephen R. Covey in his landmark book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People says, “Carry Your Own Weather.”  I like that because the visual part of the statement is so strong.  No matter whether it is raining, snowing, or just very windy outside, inside you have a bright sun shiny day going on.  Don’t rely on what is happening around you to determine who you are to others.  Carry your own attitude and be responsible for it, regardless of the circumstances.  It is a life skill that will serve you always.

In one position that I had as a college administrator, I worked on a large team and there were lots of meetings.  One day one of our team members commented to me that I was always up and spot-on, that I uplifted their spirits when I spoke to them.  I so enjoyed that comment because a few years earlier, that would not have been said in regards to me.  I had been working on taking responsibility for my attitude and evidently, people were noticing because it showed.  I can’t think of a better gift to give your child or those around you than to make a mutual commitment to help each other with this habit for success.

Yours for a better life,

Rich