Your attitudes support or detract from your experience when moving through life. Whether your attitude is expectant, positive, negative, neutral, simple, or complex, it drives you and shows up in your behavior. The best way to assess your position in life, your relationships, and your focus on life’s gifts or hindrances is to get to the root of your belief system, which in turn creates your attitudes.
Chances are that you learned your life attitudes from those who raised you, your parents and caregivers. Other influential people who made a strong impact on your mind and experience also factor in. If these individuals had a happy, positive attitude or an unhappy, negative attitude, you learned from that example. If they were a glass half-empty or glass half-full person you knew it and their attitudes and actions reflected that.
As a child you learn from the role models who raise you, in both word and behavior. You may initially agree with them and once adulthood sets in, you may possibly go in the opposite direction, thinking independently toward a more relatable way for you.
If you are happy with your open or closed system of thinking and it works well for you, then keep it up. If your tendency to be an optimist, pessimist, or realist serves you well, then maintain it.
We can choose to alter our beliefs and attitudes based on what we are taught, exposed to, and our motivation to change. I was speaking with someone recently who was a proud, self-proclaimed realist. As the conversation continued, I asked him about a few topics and where he stood on them. The relevance of his reality-based attitude slipped away as his views clearly stemmed from an inherent pessimism, challenging positive possibilities. It made me think that our attitude about our attitudes, like with all else, directly correlates to the outcome of our lives and our relationships. If you are realistic and honest about your tendencies and preferred ways of habitually thinking and feeling, and how this effects your quality of life, you are in better shape.
So what happens if you realize that your attitude about something or someone is ineffective, outdated, or faulty? Perhaps your attitude is holding you back, separates you from others, or hurts you and your chances for a happier, healthier, and more successful life.
Here are some tips for altering your attitudes and practicing the art of self-correction:
- Notice and acknowledge the specific areas that you wish to investigate by being introspective.
- Then, consider making changes that are natural and beneficial to you in alignment with your current beliefs and values.
- Once you identify the modifications you require, practice the art of self-correction. Be mindful of your thoughts, words, and actions as they all serve as representatives of your underlying attitude.
- Notice and be willing to edit yourself mid-thought and mid-sentence.
- Give yourself a pat on the back when you practice self-correction.
- Pay attention to core internalized messages or roles that do not serve you today and be willing to let them go for better ones.
- Acknowledge how your self-corrective behavior positively impacts your life and your relationships (including the relationship you have with yourself.)
Psychiatrist, educator and author Jerald Jampolsky, who founded the Center for Attitudinal Healing, offers this shift in attitude:
- The essence of our being is love.
- Health is inner peace. Healing is letting go of fear.
- Giving and receiving are the same.
- We can let go of the past and the future.
- Now is the only time there is and each instant is for giving.
- We can learn to love ourselves and others by forgiving rather than judging.
- We can become love finders rather than fault finders.
- We can choose and direct ourselves to be peaceful inside regardless of what is happening outside.
- We are students and teachers to each other.
- We can focus on the whole of life rather than the fragments.
- Since love is eternal, death need not be viewed as fearful.
- We can always perceive ourselves and others as either extending love or giving a call for help.
Be the hero in your own life so that your attitude guides you toward love, peace, and joy. Your attitude moves you through life, so make it work well for you.