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Choose your attitude!

Part 7.

By Pam Garcy

This is Part 7 of a multi-part article by Pam Garcy.  Each week Cultivate Life! Magazine will bring the next section until the article is complete.

The word attitude is used to describe how your beliefs, feelings, values and actions combine to create outcomes. Often, we have the opportunity to choose our attitude. Other times, our attitude is the result of a psychiatric condition. Below, I'll discuss those instances in which your attitude is a choice. In the instance of a psychiatric condition, however, you might need to get some professional help to change your attitude.

A wise person once said, "Your attitude determines your altitude." How is it that your thoughts, feelings, values and actions can determine how well you do in following your path and reaching your goals?

Let's look at some of the characteristics of people with positive and negative attitudes for a moment. When you understand their characteristics, you'll begin to see how attitude can determine altitude!

Positive attitude: People with this type of attitude tend to look for the opportunity, learning experience, road to growth or reason to be happy about their situations. They focus upon the goal of creating great outcomes, which leads to self-expansion. If they make mistakes, they tend to use mistakes as feedback and tend to correct their behaviors. These folks have been labeled "winners", "optimists", "owners" and "empowered."

Negative attitude: People with this type of attitude tend to look for the dark clouds in their lives. They notice the elements of doubt and uncertainty, which leads to fear and self-contraction. They are more likely to blame, criticize, give up, defeat themselves, become demanding upon others, display a great deal of anger and find reasons to be unhappy about their situations. They focus upon the reasons why they cannot create great outcomes and stop there. These folks are sometimes labeled "losers", "pessimists", "victims" and "blamers."

Now you see how attitude can determine altitude.

I have another question for you! Do you identify with either of these attitude sets? Which one? Have you ever considered that this is often your choice?

Now I want to tell you something else--something that may surprise you. Did you know that these labels that I just told you--those labels that are associated with each set of attitudes are actually incorrect? The reason that one person may be labeled as a winner is basically because that person simply chose to hold a positive attitude most of the time. This attitude led to certain results, and the label stuck. The reason that another person may be labeled as a loser is basically the same--it has to do with how PERSISTENT the attitude is and what outcomes result.

So, yes, these labels are actually mistaken--they're just describing the current behavior, not the person! Most people are capable of choosing either attitude.

If you label yourself as a loser, you're making a mistake and keeping yourself trapped in this role. A loser can never be a winner, by definition, because a loser is someone who always loses. Obviously, you can choose to change, so that means that the label is wrong.

Basically, labels cloud your ability to move past an attitude that is disempowering you. So, if you are someone who likes to simplify life through labeling consider this: rather than labeling your SELF, if you have to label something, label your attitude as helpful or unhelpful.

You are not a label, but rather a person who often chooses your attitude. Therefore, attitude boils down to choice! This is exciting to many of you because you realize that if you simply take responsibility for your attitude, you can become more positive and more powerful--pretty cool, huh?

Sometimes, however, you may be so caught in your own negativity that you find it amazingly difficult to break out of your personal prison. Everyone is different, but you might consider the following ideas:

Friendship. Friends with positive attitudes tend to help you to see the silver linings around the clouds! They also help you to see your strengths and your growth, which is sometimes invisible to you when you are in a negative mental state.

Coaching and REBT Therapy. Many coaches and REBT therapists tend to help you to look at things more objectively. This objective stance often leads you to become more open-minded to the possibilities in your life, moving you beyond your insecurities toward growth.

Gratitude. Gratitude is a special kind of attitude. It is one in which you DECIDE to pay attention to all that you have, all that you've been blessed with, all that you've been given and all that is at your disposal. Have you taken time to think about all that you have?

Self-caring. Taking good care of yourself is almost always an essential element of maintaining a positive attitude. Getting enough sleep, exercise, relaxation, good nutrition and life balance are important in creating the setting for a positive attitude to thrive!

Once you start to feel more positive, use this energy to pull you out of your funk! Take a step, however small, upon your path--and allow yourself the chance to enjoy it!

REMEMBER: This is a process. Keep going to see ongoing results!

Next issue: Part 8

Pam Garcy, PhD is a Psychologist and Coach in Dallas, Texas. If you'd like a partner in reaching your goals and overcoming the obstacles that seem to stand in your way, please contact Dr. Pam for coaching at Dr. Garcy offers a special 10% coaching discount to all valued subscribers of Cultivate Life and to customers of Dr. Pam's best-selling books - including the bestsellers The Power of Inner Guidance: Seven Steps to Tune In and Turn On and Wake Up Moments of Inspiration 
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