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Time For An Attitude Check

March 2, 2014

What kind of attitude do you have? Do you think it’s a positive one? I hope so. But what if it’s not? A negative attitude is usually a sign of depression and/or discouragement. In my work, this is a great way to test one’s mood as I share with clients how mood and attitude are connected. Many people will share their belief that they don’t have a negative attitude (an interestingly negative way of looking at it), and yet say and do things that do indeed project doubt and negativity.

One way of checking our attitude is to examine how you feel when someone either asks how you are doing or offers you a compliment. For example, clients may share saying “fine”, but feel truly discouraged or upset about their struggles. Instead of sharing this though, for whatever reason, they suffer in silence. Further, too many share discomfort when paid a compliment. They might say something like “thanks but…fill in the blank (“I could have done better” or think that they are just being nice in saying that to us, etc..). Now these examples do not necessarily mean we have a negative attitude, however, I tell you that you may be projecting doubt or something less than positive.

So what can we do about this? We can certainly use this as a gut-check moment and an opportunity for growth. For example, I might say to take a moment to reflect on why you chose to discount the compliment. Where did this come from? Challenging any self-doubt with reality, positive self-statements (a la “the person told me this because they believe it,” or “well, I am managing well and it is nice to know someone recognized it”).

Now, when someone asks how we are doing and we may be reminded that we are struggling, whether you choose to share or not, let’s take the opportunity to do something about it. Instead of just saying “ok,” and moving on in your mind, let’s operationalize what can be done. Maybe I need to reach out for help. Maybe I need to journal out some of my pain/experience, get counseling, and so forth. The point is I need to address it, which would then get this emotional weight off my plate. Unresolved issues will indeed affect your attitude and addressing them will help.

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