One of the most remarkable perks of being human is the array of choices we are faced with which determine the course of our lives. Have you ever thought about how amazing that is? There are some choices we are not always entirely in control of - such as with food. If you are a person who is struggling with finances, you tend to find yourself making some less-than-healthy food choices in an attempt to save money. But, if you can afford to make your grocery selections according to you personal preferences - your choices tend to reflect who you are. And how much you eat is also your choice. We choose our clothes, our friends, our lifestyles, and pretty much our life circumstances and experiences tend to be a result of the choices we make.
One of the biggest, and most significant choices we make has to do with attitudes. I have learned from all my many years of living, that I have tremendous control over the attitude I choose. And my attitude can greatly influence those around me, as well. I realized this a long time ago when somebody commented to me that I was always expecting the worst to happen. That surprised me. I didn’t think of myself that way, but after it was pointed out to me I realized I did! I had a very negative outlook and attitude about life. Perhaps it was a defense mechanism, but even so, it was not a good way to be. That was a reality I did not enjoy facing, but I am glad for the constructive criticism. I didn’t want to grow old and be a sour old woman who pointed out the negative side of every situation and circumstance.
There really isn’t much more draining in this world than people who jump to the most dire conclusions - crying doom and gloom as soon as life takes an unexpected turn. It seems like we quickly lose sight of the blessings we have when the unknown looms. Some people turn on those who love them, and unleash their rancid negativity with a vengeance. That sounds dramatic, but I have dealt with a multitude of people through my many jobs and volunteer experiences - and I have seen negativity destroy relationships and families. Let’s face it - who wants to be around that? Not me. Not anyone, I don’t think.
And the sad reality is - we can choose our attitudes. And attitudes are free, so with or without money an attitude can be good or an attitude can be bad. That’s what I discovered years ago. I didn’t want to be the negative angry person who dragged the room down. I didn’t want my first thoughts to be how terrible everything was in life- and just how bad my current situation could become. So, I worked very hard to change that part of me. I began with prayer, which is the only way I have ever been able to change anything I needed to work on. There are some great Bible verse that discuss attitudes. For example:
Philippians 2:14-15 - Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky…
And Proverbs 17:22 - A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
There is no indication in either of those verses that makes me think my attitude just happens and there is nothing I can do about it. I would far rather “Shine among them like stars in the sky” than have dried up bones, and I can choose which one I want.
Most definitely it is not always easy to choose to stay positive, especially in a world that seems to thrive on the negative. That obsession with negativity doesn’t make sense, either, because people seem to always be chasing after happiness - and hoping to find it in so many ways, while at the same time drinking in negative news and information. But happiness is not to be chased. Happiness is to be chosen, and negativity does not have to rule us. We can choose not to be influenced by the Negative Nancys and Downer Dans out there. It’s not easy, but, quite often, doing the right thing is not easy, either. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
I challenge myself all the time to turn my attitude around. Sometimes that means I need to avoid people and things that drag me down, but I am better off for doing that. Sometimes I have to separate myself from everything, and just be alone with God so I can assess my life. Every single time I make that effort, things get brighter and my perspective changes because I have so many blessings, and the world is truly a wonderful place to be! Whatever it takes, I will continue to choose to be happy, and I will work hard to choose to be positive. Because my choice of attitude shapes the person I am. And it is truly my CHOICE!