Series Two: Blog Seventy One
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”— Victor Frankl
Most days I wake up with a bad attitude. Bleary eyed, I crawl out of bed early in the morning feeling a hangover from the intensity of yesterday’s activities. My attitude screams at the absurdity of getting up so early. It argues that there is no good reason to get out of bed and that this would be a good day to sleep in. In spite of the pitch to roll over and go back to sleep, I usually get dressed and pour a cup of coffee. I wait till my head clears and then consider the challenges of a new day. I am vulnerable to feelings of dread, uncertainty and other unwanted emotions.
I remember when I went to sales school in Nashville, Tennessee to sell Bible books. They told me that I should get out of bed each morning, get dressed, jump in the air, click my heels and shout out “I feel healthy, happy and terrific!” I did this only one time. First, I almost tripped. Second, I quickly concluded that this is stupid! I didn’t feel any of those things. I didn’t then and I don’t now.
Nurturing negativity does not work for me. Shifting my thoughts from negative expectations to positive possibilities propels me to create a fulfilling and purposeful day. It is important to take a deep breath and then suck it up and do the next right thing. This action step helps my brain catch up to my behavior. It generates inspiration and aspiration throughout the entire day.
Addressing negative attitudes and emotions is difficult. Here are a few things to consider.
- It’s ok to be you, and when life sucks just admit it and work with it. Some people seem to always have the right attitude about life. Yet, everybody’s life sucks sometime. You cannot change what sucks until you embrace what is real. So when life sucks just admit it. Be willing to accept the highs and lows and the ups and downs of everyday living. It’s the first step.
- Understand that what you think about will expand. What you dwell on and think about is what expands in your mind. So if you think that you were screwed and you don’t work through it, then you will go through your day dominated by this negative energy. Hurt and disappointment happens in life. We are not robots and it takes time to work through harm and hurt. At some point, you will need to turn your suffering over to your Higher Power. If you don’t your wound will dictate how you will live your life. If you dwell on what is missing that is what will expand in your mind. Discipline yourself to focus on the necessary steps to heal your wound.
- Commit to the power of reframe. Every morning as I sit in my chair with a bad attitude, I have a choice to make. I can take myself by the nap of the neck and decide to shift from enervating thoughts to empowered and energizing action. It’s up to me. I choose to never let a negative thought dominate me past those early morning hours. There is power in reframing. It doesn’t come easy. You, too, have the power to shift your thinking from victimized to empowered living. You will create empowerment through action in doing the next right thing. Once you engage in reframing your life situation with possible positive outcomes, life will magically transform from negativity to empowered living.
- Condition your life with positive affirmations. Easier said than done, yet this conditioning determines lifelong sobriety. Bathe your mind in positive affirmations in the same way you bathe your body for cleaning and hygiene. Positive affirmations are necessary to overcome a bad attitude and self sabotage. In recovery, most addicts either ignore or go light on mastering positive affirmation. Long term sobriety requires consistent exposure to positive affirmative thought. It makes a big difference!
- Be what you aspire in the here and now. In order for aspirations to be realized you must act in the present that which you hope to become. Be, act, and live sober now. When your behavior falls short of ambition you will be tempted to give up or hope that someday later you will attain your aspired behavior. Shame will mock and tell you that you will not achieve your aspirations. It will make sobriety or any other desire elusive and impossible to attain. Embracing aspiration is awkward in the presence of shame. You will need to ignore the voice of shame and focus on affirmations that release your power. This process confirms and enables you to realize your aspiration. It is an exercise that requires practice and conditioning. As you practice your aspiration for sobriety it will bear fruit.
Attitude is more important that whatever fact you must face. Being able to shift from a negative attitude each day will dictate your destiny of sobriety and long term serenity.