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Attitude - How our attitude affects our happiness

Updated on November 26, 2013

Other people's interpretation of how we're behaving is their problem

If we accept their interpretation of us we are giving away our power
If we accept their interpretation of us we are giving away our power

I like the way you're behaving - Whoopee!

Another person's opinion of us is their opinion.   We don't have to accept it.  Consider it for what it's worth.
Another person's opinion of us is their opinion. We don't have to accept it. Consider it for what it's worth.

"You've got an attitude problem"

If someone says to you, “You’ve got an attitude problem.” What does it mean? It does not necessarily mean that you have a problem at all. It means that they’ve got a problem, for it is their interpretation of you – which could well be wrong. You are obviously doing something they don’t like. So the problem is theirs. On the other hand, if you are receiving almost constant feedback from a number of people that you’re causing them aggravation, then maybe you are behaving in ways which upsets most people, and therefore your behavior needs to be reviewed. However, the point to be borne in mind is that when someone tells you that have an attitude problem that is simply their subjective opinion. It is not a truth. And it certainly isn’t something to get unduly upset about.

"I like your attitude"

It follows also that if someone says, “I like your attitude.” They are really saying. “I like the way you are behaving.” It does not mean that you really do have the attitude which is going to benefit you. You might be in the habit of pleasing others at your own expense, so everybody you relate to is pleased by the way you defer to their wishes. You might be ‘a soft touch,’ as it is said.

Attitude's implications go well beyond likes and dislikes

Our attitude is profoundly important and plays a dominant role in how we interpret life.  It is in large measure what causes us to enjoy or suffer.   Don't simply react.  Choose!
Our attitude is profoundly important and plays a dominant role in how we interpret life. It is in large measure what causes us to enjoy or suffer. Don't simply react. Choose!

Are we letting other people's emotional responses rule our lives?

Unfortunately we are not taught much about the major implications of our attitude towards our life; about its real importance. All we generally learn as we grow up is that if someone says we have a bad attitude, we doing what they don’t like, and if we’re doing something they do like, then we have the good attitude. If we go along with this, we are really letting the emotional responses of others rule our lives.

But there is a lot more to attitude than this. Attitude is profoundly important. And it is our attitude which counts, not what others think of us. We are the deciders here.

How our attitude affects our happiness. Pessimists and Optimists - There are infinite half-empty and half-full situations in our lives

It is said that a pessimist looks at a glass of water which is half full and says, “Half of it is gone,” whilst an optimist looking at the same glass says “It’s still got half of it left.” Both are observing a truth. But it is the way that that truth is observed that makes all the difference. So let’s just have a quick look at some of the ramifications as to a negative (half empty) and positive (still half full) way of looking at life.

Our body's immune system is affected by our attitude

To quote Professor, Henry Reed, "The essential way to influence the health and harmoney within the endocrine system is through mental attitude."
To quote Professor, Henry Reed, "The essential way to influence the health and harmoney within the endocrine system is through mental attitude."

Our emotions really do affect our health - that's proven

The person who sees the negative immediately feels a negative response within him (we’ll use single gender here to save repetition) and thoughts and with feelings are registered in his mind-brain chemistry. The mind-brain’s chemistry is then transferred to the rest of the physicality where it affects the immune system. Such a person is more prone sickness. Moreover, when they are sick they are likely to focus on the negative symptoms of their illness. They will – and it this has been proven by psychological testing – feel more pain. They will also take longer to recover from their illness. Their negativity will hold back the recovery process.

Pain is subjective and the severity of it depends on attitude

On the other hand, the person who is positive, who is not unduly upset by having lost some of the water in the glass? He feels positive. There’s plenty left yet! His morale is high. This attitude affects his brain chemistry in positive ways which, in turn, affects his bodily chemistry towards maintaining or engendering good health. If he gets sick, he feels less pain because he is focusing on what he’ll do when he’s well again. He will therefore recover more quickly. This is proven.

When pain is scrutinized and examined it attenuates

Our problems are magnified when we identify and try to push away pain.  Examine it critically, as impartially as you can.  Don't try to escape.  Just observe and see what happens.
Our problems are magnified when we identify and try to push away pain. Examine it critically, as impartially as you can. Don't try to escape. Just observe and see what happens.

Examine the pain as if it belonged to another - it really does help

As a person who has suffered excruciating pain in certain types of meditational practice, and can assure the reader that the moment you relax and accept the pain, the pain almost immediately becomes less. It is when you try we fight it, get rid of it, that we are drawn into it and identify with it. When we examine it as impartially as we can, concentrating and clinically focusing our attention on the exact centre of the pain, where it is right down to a pin-point, if we can, it quite rapidly gives up. Physical pain identified with by the mind is terrible. Physical pain without mind identification dissipates very quickly.

Be careful...the kids may be listening

Once again, the point is attitude. The old Buddhist saying, “This, too, will pass.” And that” everything arises to pass away,” will win the day. This is having a positive attitude.

But back to even more aspects of attitude.

An overheard positive or negative remark, especially when heard in childhood, can make the difference between years of confidence or similarly long years of self-disparagement. For example:

“That boy’s got the makings of a champion – he’ll do well.” And he probably will. He’s just overheard an adult - who knows these things - say this about him. And so he knuckles down to prove that person, and all other people around him, that this is indeed so.

Be very careful of those 'off hand' observations about the abilities of others

Lives can be all but destroyed by unthinking or cruel remarks made to the young or the gullible.
Lives can be all but destroyed by unthinking or cruel remarks made to the young or the gullible.

"She'll never amount to much." Such overheard words can devastate a life

“That girl’s hopeless. So stupid. She’ll never amount to much.” So what happens in so many instances? …she doesn’t amount to much. Her negativity is such that even when opportunity is place right in her lap she can’t take any action. “It never works for me, so why bother.”

However, if for some reason she has had an earlier experience whereby someone has said something along the lines that she is “Never put off” “Has real determination,” or “Never takes no for an answer,” the same girl might well prove all of them wrong. I can recall my elder sister, Ada, being told at high school that she didn’t have the brains to even sit for a certain examination. They wouldn’t let her do it. So what happened? She went out and passed some of the most difficult examinations around and went on to a very responsible position in a great hospital.

Attitude!

Above all don't just react: choose the attitude you want

So, be very aware of your attitude towards everything around you and, indeed, inside you. Monitor your thoughts. Be aware of you reactions to circumstances as they arise. And above all, choose the attitude you want.

And a good one to start with?

An attitude of gratitude. It will help you all the way along the road to your ideal life. And remember, the journey is the thing.

I hope you got something out Attitude - How our attitude affects our happiness.

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