“Individuals need to be willing to face truth about their attitudes, behaviors, even what we want out of life.” – Joyce Meyer
A friend of mine, Joann, has always had a positive attitude. She volunteered at a nonprofit organization where I worked. Her role was to answer incoming phone calls, greet visitors, and do any projects that I might give her. Occasionally I didn’t have work for her, and she’d say, “No problem! I have my book (or crossword puzzle) and will just take calls as they come in.”
Joann’s husband was gravely ill and she would say, “We’re so lucky that he’s still with us. We take it day by day.” She walked for 3 to 4 miles every day to take care of herself.
Eventually her husband’s condition deteriorated and Joann had to stop volunteering. She and her husband moved to a smaller home in a senior living facility. Shortly after they moved, he passed away.
I met Joann for a walk a few months after his death, and she told me about the socializing she’s been doing at her senior complex, her work creating a new garden, and her now 5-mile daily walks.
I said, “Joann, you must have some bad days!”
She answered, “Yes, I do, but I do better if I keep busy. And I find, when I go out, if I smile at people, they smile back, and we all feel uplifted.”
We can’t all handle our grief as well as Joann does, and I’m not suggesting we should. Grieving is difficult, and we all grieve in our own way. Rather, I am pointing out Joann’s overall attitude, and how pleasant it is to be around people like her.
We can learn from people with a good attitude like Joann. How often do we do the following?
- We come back from vacation complaining about the bad parts rather than the fun we experienced.
- We obsess over bad situations such as job loss.
- We go to lunch with friends and spend much of the time complaining.
Why do we do these things? Do we want attention, do we like drama, or what? Are we being fearful rather than trusting that all will be well in the long run?
We all do these things occasionally—at least I do. We need to vent sometimes. But it can’t be fun for other people to listen to our negativity if it is excessive.
When our lives change unexpectedly or bad things happen, we feel sorry for ourselves, and that’s natural. But we need to put a limit on our complaining and see if there might be a way to find some good in the situation, like my friend Joann does. Is there anything we can be grateful for? Sometimes we don’t see the possible good in a situation until afterwards. An example is that losing a job can be traumatic, but it may lead to a better job later. This has happened to me.
Let’s be aware of how we speak and think about our lives. Sometimes we don’t realize we are complaining too much. If this is true of you, there is no need to judge yourself. Just be aware of the behavior, and work to change it if you want to.
Have you had a bad situation turn out for the good? What are you grateful for today?