“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company...a church....a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes.”
I'm sure we've all met at least one – that person with whom certain interactions brings out a side of our personality that we aren't necessarily proud of. That we maybe don't fully know how to deal with, alter, or react to.
It's definitely happened to me. One time in particular was at a cottage with old and new friends. I decided not to return the following year if the group was the same, because I didn't like who I was and how I acted and reacted with one of the other guests. It affected my enjoyment of the trip, and I'm sure it affected others' enjoyment as well. It wasn't a side of myself I wanted to emerge again, especially on vacation.
It's happening again now. With someone I can't so easily “decide not to go to the cottage” with; someone I see on a more regular basis. Someone whom I would not be surprised if the feelings are somewhat mutual; and who I'm sure can “justify” their frustration/annoyance just as easily as I can “justify” mine. Whether fully and truly valid or not.
But I realized something the other night. This situation is likely not going to change for some time. And it has more than once ruined my mood for an evening. That last point is the rub... Stronger than my frustration and annoyance with this person and our interactions, is my frustration in myself for allowing it to have the effect of ruining my evening. Why give this person; this situation; this relationship as it is so much power? It actually only increases my frustration with is displaced onto this individual, increasing my frustration again, and further ruining my mood... and so the cycle continues.
It is true that we cannot change or control another person. The only person we can change or control is ourselves. And while we may not always be able to choose or control how we feel about a certain person or situation – we can choose and control what to do about it; how to react in the moment and how it affects us (longer term).
Truth: I don't fully know how to deal with, alter or react to this or similar situations because even though it's happened a few times, the situations have either been brief, far apart, or with a clear end-point that the need to figure out how to deal with, alter or react was seemingly unnecessary. I simply chalked it up to life's experiences and moved on.
That isn't so easy to do this time.
So perhaps I have an opportunity here. An opportunity to change the way I deal with, alter, or react in this type of situation. An opportunity to change my attitude about this situation from one of on-going and increasing frustration, to one of increased personal awareness and growth. And considering earlier blog posts, we all know how much I love an opportunity for increased personal awareness and growth ;)
Wish me luck!