In a prior post the topic of Managing Our Own Worst Critic was covered, reinforcing the reality that we influence the outcomes in our lives based upon our inner dialog (good or bad).
Building on the above…My wife and I attend an adult Sunday School class which recently began a series based on the book: Give Up Something Bad For Lent.
In a nutshell, when most people (myself included) think about giving something up for Lent they consider things like: dessert, smoking, drinking, pizza, coffee, etc. And, for some, these may be exactly the right things to consider. That said, this study suggests that we give up negative attitudes and behaviors. And, not just for Lent, but for good!
In the first chapter it is suggested that we consider giving up:
- Bitterness – anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly; resentment.
- Apathy – lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.
- Discouragement – a loss of confidence or enthusiasm; dispiritedness.
What struck me, during our recent class, was that a comment was made, something to the effect of: “I don’t think these things can be given up, because they happen to us.”
First, let’s reinforce the fact that we’ve all adopted one or more of these attitudes or behaviors at some point in our life. However, it isn’t the attitude or behavior that “happened” to us. It was a situation, circumstance or drama (real or imagined) that happened, which resulted in us “taking on” these attitudes or behaviors.
And, while these attitudes and behaviors may be a normal human response, we need not carry this baggage around with us for more than a short period of lamentation (if at all) after the event takes place.
We must realize that there is only one person controlling the thoughts in our powerhouse mind. That is the person we see in the mirror. If we fill our mind with negative thoughts (including continuously regurgitating past hurts or unfortunate experiences) we will continue to hold negative attitudes and behaviors. If, on the other hand, we CONSTANTLY fill our mind with positive thoughts (our goals and dreams, for example) we will experience more positive situations and outcomes in our lives.
This does not mean that bad things won’t happen to good people. Far from it. However, things typically aren’t as bad as they seem. And, it is our chosen attitude and response to real-life situations, that we ALL must deal with, that absolutely influences (I dare say, controls) how things turn out.
As I was sharing this with one of my sons (Aaron), he responded with: “Yeah, bitterness, apathy and discouragement aren’t like rain that just falls on us.” He then recited a quote from a world-renowned philosopher 🙂
Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.
~ Bob Marley
In closing, it is important for us to feel (experience) the situations and circumstances in our life. However, let’s not just sit there soaking wet (with negative attitudes and behaviors). Let’s get up, dry ourselves off and move on! If we are on this earth we still have a purpose.
Never give up, or give in to negative attitudes and behaviors!