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A Positive Attitude is a Choice – Choose Wisely!

[NOTE: This is an article that I recently wrote as a guest post for Colabears.com.  In case you didn’t see it there, I thought I’d post it here, too. Enjoy! :-) ]

Have a Positive AttitudeDear Friend,

Happiness is often the result of positive thinking.

Positive thinking is a subject that I love to write about, because I really believe that positive thinking leads to positive results. In fact, I believe that thinking itself leads to results.  So you need to think about what you want to be, not about what you fear or dislike.

Of course, that’s all fine and good.  But what about those days, like today for instance, when it just seems difficult for me to be positive while the world seems to be conspiring to pull me down?

We all have these days, of course. I suppose that the biggest difference between any of us is how we react to them.

Right now I am trying to decide how to react to this day! 😉

Part of me wants to get angry. People haven’t treated me as well as I’d like (though several have been wonderful, to be honest).

Part of me just wants to be alone, which is hard when you live on the road in a motorhome with five other people.

Part of me wants to escape to a beautiful tropical island with great Internet 🙂 and just enjoy the peace.

And, to tell you the truth, fantasizing about better days or imagined joys is healthy.  It can take the edge off of a tough day

In a way, that kind of fantasizing is positive thinking.  It is picturing yourself in an environment that you really want to be in.  And the first step to changing your environment is picturing the new environment that you desire.

Of course, my life really isn’t that bad.  I just have a bad day once in a while.  In fact, I wake up every day knowing that my life is heading in the right direction, in the direction of happiness, and that the future will be better than the past.

This isn’t just Pollyanna thinking. I really do believe this. I work every day to create a future full of happiness.  And my faith is based on my understanding of the forces at work in the world today and in my own life, not just wishful thinking.

I know others, on the other hand, who never saw a day they didn’t loathe.  Or that were convinced that each bad day simply foretold their ultimate destiny, a life utterly devoid of happiness. “I guess that I’m just meant to be unhappy,” I’ve heard said more than once.

It can be easier to imagine the worst. You don’t have any pressure to perform.  You complain about the future, so that when things don’t work out, instead of being disappointed, you get to say, “I told you so!”

And some people actually suffer from clinical depression.  For these folks, every day really is bad, because they feel bad.  And those feelings only make sense if they can be assigned to something tangible in their lives, such as a relationship, job, or whatever. So, to the clinically depressed, they might imagine that their job is making them unhappy, or their spouse is terrible, etc.

In fact, the cause of their misery may just be a chemical imbalance in their brain.  But unless someone can reach them and show this to be true, they have no choice but to believe the worst.  I mean, if their life really isn’t so bad, as some keep telling them, the only excuse they might come up with for their misery may be insanity!

Negative thinking has a gravity to it, just as positive thinking does.  Get too close to it and it’ll pull you in.  And, like the blackest of black holes, it can stretch you into an oblivion that will put your dreams into a tailspin, and suck every drop of happiness out of you.

I am a strong believer that we are each responsible for protecting ourselves from negative energy. If you find it near you, and we all do, you need to distance yourself from it.  Yet this is often difficult or impolitic to do.

For example, the negativity may be emanating from a close relative, in-law, or boss.

What do you do then?

You must still protect yourself. As far as I’m concerned, if another’s negative attitude is pulling you down, you must take protective action.  If that means leaving a job, or angering a relative or “friend,” then so be it.

If getting away is absolutely impossible for the moment, try to distance yourself mentally.  You could try to cheer them up, if you think that will work.  But be careful!  Many people with negative attitudes draw energy to themselves by bringing you down with them. Or by spreading guilt.  You could quickly find yourself feeling guilty simply because you feel better than they do!

In other words, it is dangerous to play around with negative energy.  It is sticky and some often gets on you.  To me, it’s better to just get away.

So, for me at least, the keys to creating happiness from a positive attitude are as follows:

1.) Have a belief system that sees the future as a better place than the past.
2.) Count your blessings regularly
3.) Take responsibility for your own attitude
3.) Avoid negative energy wherever you find it.

Remember, this is your life.  You don’t owe your happiness to anyone else.  And your attitude is a choice.  A lifestyle choice.

Choose wisely, and live positively every day!

Wow! I feel better already!

All the best,

Hugh

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Mike Kirkeberg August 27, 2010, 2:46 pm

    Gotta disagree on this one. Behavior is a choice. Attitudes come and go. The most successful people are those who “do the right thing” even when their attitude sucks – Grace under Pressure.

  • Hugh DeBurgh August 27, 2010, 5:19 pm

    Hi Mike!

    I guess this comes down to definitions.

    Yes, behavior is a choice. Feelings and emotional reactions are out of our control.

    But when I talk about attitude, I mean the filter that we choose to view our experiences through. If we aren’t aware of that “filter,” then our emotions of the moment will dictate our attitude in that moment.

    But we can intentionally override the effect of those emotions on our attitude by consciously choosing to have a positive attitude – you could even say to ignore our emotions. This might feel false, but acting happy can actually create happiness in people. That is the basis of the science called neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

    Behavior is a product of our choices, and choices are significantly impacted by our attitude. The question is, then, shall our attitude just happen (reflecting our momentary emotional state) or shall we choose our attitude, and potentially positively steer our life in a more positive direction?

    That’s the way I see it. 🙂

    Thank you so much for your thought-provoking comment!

    All the best,

    Hugh 🙂

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