How Do I Change My Attitude?
As a young mom I remember wondering “How do I change my attitude?” There had to be a better way than getting mired in discouragement every day. Thoughts took me wherever they wanted to go and I went along for the ride. It felt like that was just the way things were, since I wasn’t blessed with a cheerful personality and an easy life.
I felt like Eeyore in the Winnie the Pooh stories:
“Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good morning,” he said. “Which I doubt,” said he.
“Why, what’s the matter?”
“Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”
“Can’t all what?” said Pooh, rubbing his nose.
“Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush.”
It took years to realize that the power to change my attitude was in my own choices.
Of course we can’t control which thoughts pop into our heads. But we can control which thoughts to dwell on.
Which will it be?
Watching the clock and letting self-pity and resentment overtake me when the baby wakes up crying every two hours.
Extending grace to a tiny person who hasn’t lived on the earth for very long and realizing the truth that this season of babyhood is very short and less sleep isn’t going to kill me, especially when I don’t think that it will.
Sighing with martyrdom and self-righteousness when I have to pick up my husband’s dirty clothes, slinging them in anger for good measure.
Thinking affectionately of this man who works hard and being grateful I have a husband to pick up after.
Feeling annoyed and snappish when children don’t follow my nicely planned homeschool schedule.
Realizing that the interruptions and imperfections are exactly the life that God is sending to me today, and staying aware that even the homeschool years are a fleeting season.
Note that the circumstances in each scenario didn’t change. Only my choice of thoughts.
Our first thought could very well be the aggravation-resentment-self-pity one. But at that point we get to choose which thoughts to focus on and strengthen. It’s our choice which thoughts to bring to the front of our minds and water and fertilize and carefully tend.
The truth is, sometimes we don’t WANT to choose gracious, loving thoughts. It seems unfair. We’d rather focus on ourselves and our rights, with a bit of foot-stomping and crossed arms. Waahh.
But of course we can’t escape the inevitable reaping of what we sow. When we scatter seeds of self-pity and resentment, we harvest bitterness and grouchiness and all manner of ugliness.
If you don’t want to think positive, that’s okay. Just get rid of all the negative thoughts in your mind and whatever is left will be fine.
Choose your thoughts wisely, for as a woman thinks in her heart, so is she.
We don’t want our family to remember us as a stressed-out, grouchy, sad-faced, aggravated Mom. You CAN change your attitude. Nobody wants to be an Eeyore, so don’t think like one.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment…
Very well said! It really is all about what you think about. Thanks for sharing.
And the crazy thing is that we all need reminders about choosing thoughts!
Good reminder. Also sometimes we lose it and like kids, hang onto the bad feelings long after the crisis is over. I have been sick for a long time, and though I have finally seen a specialist this week, we are still waiting on diagnosis and recovery. If my husband and I have learned anything over these hard and sometimes frightening years, it is to quickly move on from the bad feelings, be quick to love and laugh, and look for fun and beauty. For me to realize that blood sugar lows cause intense despair that I can’t help, but that isn’t anyone’s fault, helps me and everyone to quickly move on to happiness. Be quick to forgive and don’t hold grudges!
Wise words from lessons learned in hard things. Praying that you finally get an accurate diagnosis and swift recovery!
Your stories often make me feel calm and helps put life into perspective. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you, Cathy–that encourages me!
What Cathy said!
Aww, thank you so much!
Definitely have seen the Eeyore tendency in myself. The funny thing is, when we shift our focus to one of gratitude, we sometimes find that we have the very gift we have complaining that we lacked. For instance, I have been wishing I had a mentor to give me wisdom and encouragement in my daily struggles as a homeschooling mom of 5. Your new posts arrive in my email at precisely the time I need them! Always just what I need to hear to remind me that I CAN do exactly (and only!) what Gid has called and equipped me to–with joy!
As humans, it seems that our thoughts are spring-loaded to negative! The good news is that after a time of taking every thought captive, it gets easier to switch to faith and positivity and hope. Carry on!