What is shaping your day the most?
What affects whether you get a lot done, or a little?
Do you think your attitude is affecting your day?
Attitude – that one thing we get to choose and that no one else can choose for us. Growing up I can recall being told to “adopt a positive attitude”. As a child I didn’t really understand what that meant. People like Polly-Anna were used as an example, to encourage me to choose to be a ‘ray of sunshine’, rather than a ‘grumpy storm cloud’.
In adulthood, it’s normally those nearest and dearest that take on the caring of a parent and get to call us on our attitude. I have a friend, her name is Hana, and she is my powerhouse of tough love. She calls me on my attitude. It is one of the reasons I love her, she trusts in our friendship and knows that part of caring is being able to hold up a mirror and tell someone that perhaps they might want to reflect on their attitude. It can sound like brutal honesty, but it’s actually deep caring.
Let me tell you a bit about my story.
I can get overwhelmed and sometimes the black clouds can descend around me. It can feel like being lost in dense fog, I can’t see which way to turn, I lose my sight and I don’t know where the light is that will lead me to safety. When my world has gone inwards like this, I get scared, breathing becomes shallow and even getting out of bed takes enormous energy. Tears lie just on the surface, and positivity rests in a different Universe. It’s when I go silent, crawl into my safe cave, and try to just survive another day.
Over the years I have figured out coping mechanisms and things that help my brain to stop fixating on a downward spiral and enable me to work my way through the fog, towards light. I’ve never turned to medication, nor alcohol. That was never my way out, rather I turned to action.
The first coping mechanism I found was my camera. If I can pick up the camera and focus on beauty, I can distract my brain from negative thoughts, and it fixates instead on creation and beauty. It’s a bit like distracting the temper-tantrum toddler. For me, it works.
Then I found exercise. Riding my bike or riding a horse. They each require my mind to focus just on the activity, otherwise I’ll hurt myself. Distraction. Endorphins. Accomplishment. Energy. Breath.
Then I found writing. Get the words out. Put my thoughts on paper. See what I am really thinking. See how perhaps my thoughts are twisting reality. Use the words on paper to help process and get perspective. I found that writing calms me.
Regularly I use planning and goal setting to keep my head up, to keep me moving forward. Planning helps me feel that I have a measure of control, for me it’s like a support structure, scaffolding around the building of my life. Planning and goal setting are like my maintenance regime, they help keep me on track and limit the opportunity for a downwards spiral. Sort of like what parents might do with teenagers – keep them busy, don’t give them space and time for thinking or getting into trouble!
Each of my self-management techniques have helped me to navigate my life’s challenges – divorce, sudden death, redundancy (twice), and a myriad of other hurdles. I think of each of my coping mechanisms as tools in my resilience toolkit.
Then when none of that is working, I thank goodness for Hana. Because this woman is fearless on calling me on my stuff, she is my resilience ‘sledge-hammer’. Over the course of ten years she has famously said “Stop being a cry baby!” “Why are you being such a victim?” And the latest ‘bon mot’ “Add grumpy to your list!”
Ow. When she calls me on these things it is like a slap in the face. It rattles me and forces me to lift my head up. Naturally my ego rallies and I’ll often try and fight back. How could she be so mean? How could she say these things? What sort of friend is she? Can’t she see that I am struggling and need love now, not criticism and harsh judgement? Grrrr she is SO NOT my friend.
She is SO my friend. She is the one who cares to be honest, in times of need she will not sugar coat! She knows me well enough to know when it is time for tough, honest love. I don’t need a sledgehammer very often, on average once every 3-4 years, but when I do, she is there for me.
Lately, I’ve been working on honing a new tool to add to my resilience tool kit. I’m thinking of it as my daily scalpel. The tool I can use regularly and readily to tackle little molehills and stop them becoming mountains in my mind. It’s a simple tool – each morning I am defining and choosing my attitude to face the day. It’s naming the attitude I want to adopt to do each task that day.
Right now, my favourite attitude to adopt is “delight”! I am going to delight in cleaning my home and having it look and smell fabulous. I am going to delight in getting my washing done. I am going to delight in tackling my emails and work tasks, so I can feel satisfied at the end of the day. I am going to delight in speaking compliments and putting smiles on other’s faces. I am going to delight in my gratitude for all I have and all I am able to do. I am going to delight in how deeply and freely I am breathing. I am going to delight in the knowledge that all will be well and is as it ought. I may just add a little bit of Polly-Anna to my attitude.
I know I won’t get it right all the time. I know that sometimes I will get my attitude spectacularly wrong. But I figure that if each morning I focus on a reset, and each night I reflect on what worked and what I need to forgive myself for, then surely, like any form of fitness, my attitude fitness will get stronger day by day. I just choose to keep working on it.
Attitude. We get to choose it in any given situation, or any moment of our day.
So, what attitude have you chosen for today? You get to choose and you get to decide how you will live true to self.
Passion and Paris – A Soul’s Prerogative, explores the evolution of the soul’s courage that is often needed to embrace passion, purpose, place and people and live a life true to self.
To be further inspired, download the entire E-book from my store www.passionandparis.com
Thanks for being curious to connect and be inspired.