Tuesday, January 28, 2014

perspective, attitude and poop

Our perspective influences our attitude. In fact, I would even say our perspective forms our attitude. How we see things determines our mood and outlook. And we tend to see things as if everyone is out to get us. That car that pulled out in front of me-- how dare they! I know they saw me coming, and they just pulled out anyway! @*#&!! $%@*!! We assume they intintionally pulled out in front of us. They probably did it solely to piss us off. We make it all about us. The car that cut us off. The noisy neighbors. The seemingly unfriendly cashier. The person holding up the line. The strict boss. We make it about us. And when we do this, when our perspective is all about how something will influence me, how it affects me, this usually leads to anger, jealousy, bitterness and hatred. We get angry at the car that pulls out in front of us because we only care about their actions in how they influence us (although, let's be honest, when they cut us off… it really, actually… didn't affect us… at all).

My dad and I recently took a trip to Houston, where my brother had moved just a few days before. My dad and I went to help him move in to his new apartment. As we were out and about a lot, running errands and purchasing things for the new place, we determined that Houston drivers are a bit crazy. Sometimes it was humorous. Sometimes it would piss us off. And all the time it left us saying, "What the…?!".

I don't remember the situation exactly, but I suppose someone cut us off. It was just one of those situations where you watch the other driver and wonder what the hell they're doing. After initially being frustrated, my brother finally says, "Well, maybe she had to poop really bad." From then on out, instead of getting frustrated when a driver cut us off or tailgated or sped past us, we would just assume that they probably had to poop really bad. And then how could we not be understanding? Their actions suddenly made much more sense with that perspective!

It's no fun to go through life constantly angry, frustrated, upset, jealous or assuming everyone is out to get you. It will lead to bitterness and hatred. This is something I've been learning over the past several years. It's a lesson life has tried to teach me many times and I didn't listen. I'm listening now. I'm trying to be teachable. I choose happiness. I choose joy. I choose to extend grace and forgiveness and understanding. It's not easy and I certainly don't have it perfected. It takes a conscious effort. It takes a conscious effort to make it not all about me. Maybe the noisy neighbors don't realize we can hear them. Maybe the seemingly unfriendly cashier is going through a divorce. Maybe the person holding up the line is flustered and distracted with the bad news they just received. Maybe the strict boss is struggling to hold it all together. And maybe the person in the car that cut us off just has to poop really bad.

When we make the effort to change our perspective, our attitude will, without a doubt, change. Not just our attitude in that moment, but in how we go through life. When we learn to let things go. When we realize the world is not out to get us. When we see things for more than just how they affect us, our attitude is better. Life is better.


Lindsey said...

I really enjoyed this. However, I'm still convinced our neighbors KNOW we can hear them and are out to make our lives miserable.

Elisabeth Osborne said...

I always say "Maybe they're about to crap their pants" when someone tailgates me or speeds past. Great minds think alike.

Mariah Howard said...

I do the same thing! When someone's grumpy and I don't see a reason why I'll just say "maybe they burnt their bagel this morning..that always makes me a bit of a grump too." :-)