Are you unhappy? Believe it or not, we are generally the ones who make ourselves unhappy. Some folks will stop reading right here. Press on. There is some pretty good stuff in this piece. I promise.
We do it to ourselves, make ourselves unhappy, and follow that with a fair measure of denial, e.g., I’m not unhappy, I don’t have a temper, and certainly didn’t do it to myself. We blame things, circumstances, situations, others, etc., without talking a cold hard look at the person we see in the mirror, namely ourselves. In my own case, years ago, I was loaded with denial about my own role in being unhappy. And when I was in denial I would have never believed that my unhappiness was of my own making, but it was.
We make ourselves unhappy and follow that with a fair measure of denial, e.g., I’m not unhappy, I don’t have a temper, and I certainly didn’t do it to myself. We blame things, circumstances, situations, others, etc., without talking a cold hard look at the person we see in the mirror, namely ourselves.
While I was in the US Air Force, I worked for some horrendously bad supervisors. I bought into their negative comments and copied their bad attitudes, which I then took home with me. My bad attitude became a habit, which affected my own work and relationships. I’d come home and our dogs would cower, our kids would go to their rooms and not say a word, and my wife would turn her back to me. I was always angry, on edge, and had a short temper. No one wanted to be around me and I can’t say I blame them. I didn’t like myself much either.
In my own case, I was loaded with denial about my own role in being unhappy. And when I was in denial I would have never believed that my unhappiness was of my own making, but it was.
Ever hear the phrase, “misery loves company”? I was a pain to be around and made others miserable as well, until I finally saw some truth. If I wanted to be happier, wanted to save my marriage, see my kids being happy, and be greeted at the door by at least the dogs I had to change me. My supervisors certainly weren’t going to change. I couldn’t make my wife, our kids, or the dogs change. The only thing I could change was me and my own attitude.
In my military example, I swapped my choices. Instead of choosing to buy into all the negatives I heard and experienced I chose to learn as much as I could from my supervisors’ poor attitudes and behaviors about how not to treat people. I changed a negative into a positive and it became a learning experience. In the process I learned how to both relax and treat people with dignity and respect. To paraphrase the poet Robert Frost, I chose the road less traveled down. That choice has made a world of difference in my life. I changed and as a direct result my relationships, work, recreation, and health also improved.
Keeping a positive attitude is still an ongoing process for me, as it for each of us. We’re surrounded by negatives – people, situations, circumstances, media, etc., etc. – and it’s all too easy to get sucked into the dark side. Two other pieces have helped me in my own journey – “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann and the following by an anonymous author:
Attitude is Everything.
Each of us when we wake up in the morning have two choices.
We can choose to be in a good mood or …
we can choose to be in a bad mood.
I choose to be in a good mood.
Each time something bad happens
we can choose to be a victim of it or …
we can choose to learn from it.
I choose to learn from it.
Every time someone comes to us complaining
we can choose to accept their complaining or …
we can point out the positive side of life.
I choose to focus on and point out the positive side of life.
Life is all about choices.
When you cut away all the junk, every situation you face is a choice.
You choose how you react to situations.
You choose how people affect your mood.
You choose to be in a good mood or a bad mood.
The bottom line …
It’s always your choice how you live your life.
Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.