*Editor’s Note: Elephant Journal articles represent the personal opinion, view or experience of the authors, and can not reflect Elephant Journal as a whole. Disagree with an Op-Ed or opinion? We’re happy to share your experience here.
No matter how many times I experience a good attitude, whether it’s my own or somebody else’s, the positive impact it has never changes.
A good attitude ripples out vibrations which are harmonious to its environmental orchestra.
All of us sometimes have it temporarily, yet many people radiate it permanently and take it with them through their daily experience. Every single day.
It’s a beautiful way to live.
An undesirable hiccup is turned into a fleeting experience. It may just be heavy traffic or a rude service assistant, but whatever the event, having a good attitude helps us let it go instantly, whilst a bad attitude will dwell on it, potentially for hours, or even the entire day.
Good attitudes are well mannered, whilst bad attitudes may make us rude. Manners cost us nothing after all. Saying good morning or goodbye and genuinely being interested in another person’s life is on the list of priorities of a positive person, but a negative thinker is too self-absorbed in their own suffering.
Moreover, when you listen to someone with a bright outlook, their voice is melodic. If they’re the opposite, it’s disharmonious. It may also be accompanied by a screechy voice which sounds of stress and anxiety, it might be in monotone or it may simply be whiny.
Regardless, it’s super noticeable when we are exposed to either a good or bad attitude, so why do some people continue to have the latter on a permanent basis? I’m sure it has been reflected to them almost daily—sometimes subtly and at others harshly—so why haven’t they done anything about it?
Generally it’s a habitual behaviour of inadequate emotional regulation which may have led to a mental disorder, such as depression or anxiety. However, it’s not the rule that there is some sort of mental illness; they may just be a pessimist or someone who gets significantly sucked into the drama of their lives.
We all know we’ve had a bad attitude at certain times in our past and if we were properly conscious of our accompanying experience, we’d remember that our bad attitude brought us and most likely others suffering.
So if we know that a bad attitude not only makes others suffer, but ourselves too, we can safely assume that this is a justifiable reason why to remove it from our mental landscape.
But some people don’t. they continue to have a bad attitude even when their life is pretty bloody good in the scheme of things.
Why is this?
I’d like to believe that if they really understood it, then they would have implemented strategies to overcome it. Plus as previously mentioned there might also be some mental illness interwoven within this dysfunctional conduct.
On many occasions, this state of suffering stems from some form of childhood trauma or circumstance. Maybe their parents weren’t around that often or it could be that they were spoilt and didn’t have to work hard to achieve anything. Maybe they simply learned it from their role models and it is therefore their default setting when it comes to the challenges in life.
However, it might be a personality, anxiety or mood disorder, which reminds us why it’s important not to judge them as a bad person, but to embrace them as somebody who is yet to evolve to the stage of accepting and embracing the toughest of circumstances or even life in general.
In addition, it might simply be linked to self-esteem and self-worth issues. Or it could be a lack of confidence. In general there are probably unrealistic expectations of reality involved too.
If we don’t embrace our experience for what it is and instead make (unrealistic) attempts to control it, then a bad attitude is usually complementary.
We really really want a certain outcome because we’ve somehow attached our happiness to that particular result, so if we don’t get it, then life is going to suck (and as a consequence for others too).
So with all this in mind, it reminds us to not have a bad attitude about their bad attitude, we should instead attempt to help them see life through a more positive lens.
The most devastating impact is that a poor attitude inhibits a reverent experience of the world. If we’re too busy lost in the noise that this form of mood creates, then we miss out on the small things that makes life so wonderful.
Yes it may be raining, which challenges our temperament and commute to work, but did we admire the rainbow? Did we see the artistic way the water ran off that roof? What about that child that was dancing in it?
He looked like he was having a rad time.
Animals generally have a good attitude too; we should learn from their natural wisdom. They’re always making the most of their opportunities; such as a dog who runs on the beach like a prisoner just released from confinement, or the cat which realizes that its midnight, so its time for it to wake the household up with its mysteriously hyperactive antics. They’re generally just plain and simple happy.
So when it comes to our fellow man, content people don’t have a bad attitude; how could they, they’re content!
If we find our inner peace, then it inherently means that we have a good attitude. Sometimes, albeit a short time, our positive attitude may slip and we get lost in an emotionally-fuelled drama of some sort, but in general—to truly be content—we must have an all-embracing attitude about all the experiences that life will inevitably throw at us.
After all, life is a roller-coaster of emotional highs and lows.
It’s the challenging times which bring out our true character. If we want to know if we’ve got a genuinely good attitude, then ask ourselves what happens to us under pressure?
Of course most people are going to have a good attitude when they’re having the best time of their life, but when they’re suddenly in a negative moment which forces a spontaneous and instinctual response, that is where our true colors shine.
Not only that, but when we’re out of our comfort zone or participating in something like a sport or activity that we’re not good at, then we meet our true selves. Can we still enjoy it even if we’re not that good at it?
Ultimately, if we have a good attitude, we’re going to have a good time. And the opposite is equally true. It really is that simple.
The other benefit is if we genuinely look after our own heart, which translates into a good attitude, by default we also look after everyone else. That’s why we should just smile and enjoy all of what life offers.
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Author: Phil Watt
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Marina del Castell at Flickr