I have been thinking a lot lately about the impact attitude can have on a person’s life.
There was a time for me when everything was pretty… chaotic, to say the least. It seemed like every time I turned around, something bad was happening. I had health issues that put me in the hospital. Someone broke into my car. My cat ran away. I was in a car wreck. Someone pulled a gun on me while I was at work (ever have to go around booting people’s cars to pay the bills? Not. Fun.) The house I was subletting caught on fire. I lost my hearing aid somewhere in Canada. (No, I’m not making any of that up.)
On and on the list went. It seemed like every time things started looking up, something else would happen and my life would spin out of control again. I tried making a fresh start. I tried looking on the bright side of things. I kept picking myself up and moving on, but things just kept getting worse.
Finally, I realized that the problem wasn’t what was happening to me, the problem was me. The more chaotic and negative I was, the more out of control my life was. Oh, sure, some of the things were beyond my control, but almost everything could be linked back to me and the choices I was making. The problem was my attitude. You see, I expected bad things to happen. Every time disaster struck, I mentally nodded my head and thought, “See? Life is hard.”
The day I changed my attitude was the day I changed my life. I was sitting in the dark eating ice cream and crying and I thought, enough. I made a list of my goals, and then began taking steps to achieve them. I started taking better care of myself. I went back to school. Got a decent job. One by one, things started to fall into place. Everything stopped being about damage control and started being about living. It’s amazing how much things changed once I started expecting good things to happen. There were no more fires, for one thing. I became truly happy, for another.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because this month marks an important anniversary for me. One year ago I left an abusive relationship. I took only the clothes that would fit in my sister’s car and my newborn son and moved back home. This last year has been about starting over and dealing with the fact that I am now raising J on my own. It’s been a reminder of how important it is to stay positive.
It certainly hasn’t been an easy year, but it hasn’t been bad either. I have an amazing support system. I was able to find a job that allows me to bring J along. I recently received an internship doing what I love. I have a happy, healthy boy who lights up my days. And slowly but surely, I am rebuilding my life.
I firmly believe that the good things that have happened and the opportunities that have come my way are due, at least in part, to having a positive attitude. I could have stayed angry. I could have focused on the negative things. I could have bought into the belief that from now on, life was going to be a struggle. If I had let myself think that way, I probably would have been right.
You get back from life what you put in. If you are someone who is very negative, you’re going to be surrounded by similar people. You will miss out on opportunities because you are focused on the things that are going wrong. And you can’t be happy while you’re holding on to your bad attitude.
Do you know people who are miserable with their lives? I know I do. Maybe they hate their job, or where they live, or they are stuck in a dead-end relationship. Something always seems to be going wrong. They complain. They may wish for things to be different, but nothing ever changes.
That’s because they haven’t changed.
In order for things to get better, first you have to want things to change. You have to believe that life can be good. And you have to be willing to work to make changes happen in your life.
What are you going to do to make your life better today?
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