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Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Morning Check In: The Right Attitude

Written by Paula E. Bird ©2013

This has been a tough week for a lot of people. Many of my friends have related stories to me of interpersonal conflicts they had with co-workers which took the life right out of my friends. My friends felt as if they had been battered and hammered down until they were bruised and two inches shorter. My friends were subjected to undeserved angry outbursts, rude behavior, and unpleasant and sarcastic remarks. How does one handle such episodes? How does one react to another person who is behaving badly and apparently does not have the wherewithal to exercise appropriate self control in a social or work situation? In other words, what do you do when a rude person comes at you with an angry outburst, nasty remarks, and unsocial behavior?

Unfortunately, we do what any self-respecting person does when faced with this unpleasantness. We do nothing. We are usually surprised, even stunned to be subjected to such unpleasantness. Our first instinct is to respond in kind, but if we are really good, we will hold ourselves in check and take the heat instead. We will absorb the toxic poison being spewed on us and we will sit with it for hours, maybe even days afterwards trying to make sense of it. If we are good people, we will ponder what happened and seek to understand what we did to cause the other person's behavior. Surely I did something that sparked the outburst, we think. I need to figure out what I did wrong, we think. Then we look for the life lesson that we can take away with us.

I am truly annoyed to hear stories like this, and the stories are numerous. These types of encounters happen far too frequently today, sometimes among complete strangers (e.g., customer and store clerk), but most often between people who know each other, such as family members and co-workers. None of these situations are appropriate. No one should be subjected to that kind of treatment, no matter what the reason. No one.

I wish that we could return to a place and time, if there ever were such a period in history, when people addressed each other with formal names, even husbands and wives. There were observed social customs that discouraged gossip, shameless outbursts of anger, bold effrontery, or inappropriate public displays. Whether people felt angry or unkind, there were social rules that prevented people from behaving badly towards each other.

I do not know if we will ever return to such a civilized place, and I suspect that such a place never existed except in historical fiction and Jane Austin's books. Still, I would urge us to make the effort. If a few of us adopt the right attitudes, perhaps our influence will spread and encourage others to join our cause.

What is the right attitude? Here are a few ideas. Perhaps you can comment with some of your favorite attitudes. Here are some of my suggestions, including character qualities and positive actions that would spur a positive or right-minded attitude:
  • Be kind
  • Be gracious
  • Forgive others
  • Exert self-control
  • Feel compassion
  • Show courtesy
  • Express happiness, joy, and optimism
  • Feel hopeful
  • Expect and look for the best
  • Do your best always
  • Express altruism
  • Set goals for tomorrow
  • Follow an action plan for the future
  • Look for options
  • Stretch yourself
  • Do something you fear
  • Reach out of your comfort zone
  • Revere peace of mind
  • Start with calmness and stillness
  • Focus on success
  • Be determined
  • Exude energy
  • Build trust
  • Respond pleasantly to others
  • Go the extra mile
  • Assure and affirm others
  • Shower complements
  • Lift up good humor
  • Keep promises
  • Foster an open mind
  • Give love freely
This week, observe yourself. Observe your thoughts and your behaviors. Are you someone who spreads a positive attitude or are you one of those people who ruined my friends' days last week? What can you do this week to develop a more focused and life-giving attitude toward others? Make a choice to do one thing this week that will help to strengthen someone else. Share the right attitude. Help the world to be a more pleasant place to live and work.

Change the world -- one child, one student at a time.

12th Monday: Today is the 12th Monday of 2013, so remove your 12th penny. One fourth of the year 2013 has passed. Where are you headed the rest of this year?


  1. Great article, Paula! For me thing for me to do in those situations is to remember that Jesus Christ loved me by dying on the cross for me even though He knew I would constantly fail Him and treat Him wrongly. Jesus said in John 13:34, "Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another." I constantly need reminders to do so, though! :)

    1. Thank you, Hannah, for the lovely Easter message.