Essential Principles, Practices and Panaceas, A – Z: Attitude

attitude haiku

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. Winston Churchill

It’s been said that attitude is everything; which may or may not be true. However, attitude is a choice and it has a lot of impact not only on how you feel about your life, but also about how life will unfold for you.

What is your overall attitude towards life? That it’s something to be endured, struggled through, or that it is a glorious mystery to revel in? Perhaps you alternate between the two; if so, which is your most prevalent reality?

It’s worth taking time to examine your basic attitudes to determine whether or not they are serving you. Nobody expects you to be laughing like a Buddha 100% of the time – we all have off days. The attainment of a Stepford-Wife-meets-Pollyanna-positive-persona is not the aim here. A world full of superficially cheerful human beings is what dystopian nightmares are made of. It’s because we are human that we’re subject to caprice, to experiencing the full range of emotions, to coming up against challenges.

How many of us, I wonder, are trapped inside attitudes that we formed to fit in with our families or peers? I see posts on Facebook that I’m not convinced are true reflections of the attitudes of the people who’ve shared them. It’s as though those people want to be seen in a certain way, which is suggestive of a less-than positive attitude towards themselves.

A predominantly bad attitude, for example an antagonistic, or a patronising, outlook on life, suggests that the person exhibiting it is tangled up in (delete as appropriate) unhealthy/neurotic/inflated/wounded ego-consciousness. This is excusable if you’re a toddler or a teenager, but far from flattering if you’re, say, twenty-five or more.

Although I know what a Kardashian is, I’ve never actually watched Keeping Up with…, from what I’ve seen in the media I think I’d rather lag behind. I confess I’m no stranger to ‘reality’ TV, however, and my guilty pleasure has included watching one or two of the Real Housewives series. As a Brit I was particularly interested in the recent Real Housewives of Cheshire spin-off, but as the series progressed I couldn’t help but refer to it in my mind as the Desperate Fishwives of Cheshire. The two-faced, back-stabbing, egoistic characters have to be witnessed to be believed; forty-plus year-old women displaying attitudes that would embarrass a two year-old, and behaving like delinquents in a reform-school playground. Materially they have everything, and more, you could possibly desire; emotionally and spiritually they’re deprived, verging, even, on the depraved. Are they content with their lot? Their actions scream ‘NOT’; I’d challenge a claim to heartfelt happiness made by any one of them.

Clinging to a bad attitude, I reckon, sets you up for misery, with added misery for good measure. Then you get a sprinkling of extra misery just to keep you stuck in a glutinous, soul-sucking rut. And in case you’re thinking that I’m judging these TV personalities, or anyone else with an attitude problem, let me reassure you that I’m not. I was more than capable of acting up until I was well into my forties. Furthermore, my ‘buttons’ can be pushed now, no matter how much intensive personal and spiritual development I’ve engaged with. What’s different these days is that I recognise when I’ve been ‘triggered’ and can choose my response to whatever situation I find myself in.

In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl wrote:

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. 

You have the inner resources you need to cultivate a supportive attitude, one that’s aligned with your essence and which will enhance your life.

If a prisoner in Auschwitz can demonstrate an admirable attitude, then what’s stopping you?

5 thoughts on “Essential Principles, Practices and Panaceas, A – Z: Attitude

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