Attitude is Everything
Yesterday, one of my adult students said to me "You have such a positive attitude. Maybe I should have you teach me about that too." Just that statement got me thinking about attitude and just how important it is in day to day life.
Cultivating a positive attitude is very much like cultivating a garden. It takes, time, effort, nurturing, some occasional pruning and an ever growing awareness of ourselves. I can not honestly say I have always had a positive attitude. I also can not say that I always have one. Like everything through out life it's a work in progress.
Turning the Soil
Having a positive attitude requires some heavy lifting and back-breaking labor of the mental kind. In order to create a new mindset and allow it the proper environment to take hold and grow we are going to have to dig, turn, sift and look at what we find in the well trampled soil of the mind. Sometimes we will find beautiful gems like a memory of our grandparents being silly with us. Other times we will find some ugly dried up turd we didn't even realize we kept let alone planted. Each one deserves evaluation so we can see the impact it has had on our life to date, determine why we kept it and finally decide to re-pot or say thank you, you have served your purpose; it is time for you to go! Until this digging, sorting and cleaning is done our reactions to similar situations will be unconscious and along the same lines as past reactions.
I am going to be very honest with you. This is the hardest part of creating a positive attitude. It requires facing things that can at times be painful. I cried many tears through this phase some of joy, some of sadness, some of genuine hurt and several of anger. Each tear served it's purpose and helped me to move forward. Being willing to let the tears flow so the heart can breath is not an easy process however, it is well worth it in the end.
Planting the Seeds
I am a firm believer in what we do today influences our tomorrows. Some have told me that I spend too much time thinking about the impact of my actions. Truth be told I do spend a good deal of time thinking, processing and carefully choosing what I am willing to carry forward into my tomorrows. Each carefully selected item gets planted in a different section of my personal garden. Some items take a place in the vista of lessons learned, some in the garden of gratitude, others are placed in pots on the patio of possibilities.
Tending the Garden
With each new planting there is also weeding that goes along with it. Each experience in and of itself has a tendency to bring up past experiences, memories and encounters. Some are in harmony with us and others discordant, requiring attention. Sometimes the attention is simply reviewing the memory from a different perspective to gain greater understanding. Let's face it, memories from a child's vantage point are seen very differently (intellectually and emotionally) than the same memory viewed from the eyes of an adult.
Take time to review your days, past and present, so you can plant just what you wish to carry forward and weed out the dysfunctional thinking and reactions from your tomorrows. Often times going through these memories allows us to create boundaries that are healthy, affording us to move forward with confidence.
Enjoying the Growth
As time goes on and diligent work applied a positive attitude will grow and flourish. Like any garden it will take time for it to fill in and go from scattered seedlings to full, healthy adult plants lush with flowers. The quiet time you spend in your personal garden will allow more than just a positive attitude. It will give you time to reflect and create a vision of where you would like to be so you can make a functional plan to achieve your dreams. It will also afford you the ability to deal in a healthier way with the challenges that come with life. A positive attitude will not make loss hurt less or the sting of disappointment not felt. What a positive attitude will do is allow you to face these realities of life in an easier manner, remembering the good you have and the dreams you are working to achieve.