“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” – Winston Churchill
We all know how easy it can be to get stuck in a negative state of mind. Sometimes it feels easier to go down the negative path than to take a moment and adjust our course. This tendency is made all the easier by that inner voice that says, “What’s the use?”. This week, that voice of doubt was whispering in my ear, and I had many opportunities to choose my way into a positive flow. Although it feels futile when I am feeling negative, the outcome of shifting my attitude to a higher perspective always brings great results.
I have had many opportunities to practice changing my attitude this week, and it was not because anything I was doing was harder than usual. In fact, sometimes my inner critic comes out when things are going well. This was one of those weeks. Thankfully, I have friends that I can call when I am tempted by the dark side. On one such day, I talked to a friend who was also looking for a shift in his attitude. We reminded each other that it is not our mood, but the choices we make that inevitably lead to positive or negative outcomes. Our conversation, and an iced coffee, got me moving in the right direction. I hopped in my car, pressed play on the Party Mix, and drove to Culver City Middle School for a lunch group.
Almost magically, when I walked into the main office I felt really happy. First, I waved to Leilah Peeler and Susan Hererra. As usual, their smiles gave me a boost. Then I bumped into Assistant Principal Rick Barclay, we talked surfing for a few minutes, and my mood went up another notch. The topper was running into Occupational Therapist, Greta Binkley, and Jo-Anne Cooper, the Director of our Special Education Department. There are times when seeing a supervisor can be stressful. Instead, I felt like I was running into an old friend, and we wished each other well. I was feeling really good as I walked to the lunch group.
Along the way, I stopped by Valerie Hernandez’s classroom to borrow some board games for the group. She was not there, but as I was turning to leave, I saw her coming my way. Ms. Hernandez let me know that she had already sent the games ahead with her students. Yet another coin in my happy meter. I arrived at the group, quickly rearranged the tables, and the students filed in.
The first thing I noticed was how genuinely good I felt to see everyone. This was a contrast to past weeks when I was tired and unsure of myself. During those sessions I felt like the kids were running me over and was not sure if I was in the right line of work. This week this large room full of middle school students did three meditative breaths together, and then answered the student-generated “Question of the Day” with grace and ease. Then, to kick off the games, I handed one group Connect 4, and started playing Headbands with another. Everyone was enthusiastic about the games so I stood back to watch. It was amazing to observe a group, that was bouncing off the walls two weeks ago, actively engage and play appropriately with one another. The best part was that it did not even feel like work.
The day continued to roll on and little happy surprises seemed to come at every turn. This was happening in spite of the voice in my mind that was begging me to indulge in self-pity and doubt. That is the beauty of this way of living. We do not have to be perfect. In our willingness to look at our own attitude, then take a simple step in the direction of feeling good, life meets us and helps us along the path. Even when my mind believes it is having a bad day, the moment I stop and find a reason to feel grateful, or reach out to a friend, I open up to a new set of positive outcomes. This is not a matter of overcoming negative thoughts. It is a matter of being a firm and loving parent to myself, letting myself know that there is nothing to be afraid of, and that I live in a friendly world. It all starts with me.
Think about a situation that you believe is going wrong. Take a moment to reassure yourself that nothing is important enough to get down about. These brief moments of contemplation allow the light to shine on your thoughts and on situations that might otherwise get worse because of your attitude toward them. Just the fact that you are alive and able to take a moment to reflect is proof that you are doing alright. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt, or the benefit of faith. When your attitude changes, conditions improve. You are worth it and the results will surprise you.
Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District. He is also co-host of the popular radio show, Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed, live each week, Wednesdays at 3 p.m. on www.UnityOnlineRadio. org. Visit www.TappingIntoGenius.com for more articles and a free, inspirational parenting download.