Monday, August 25, 2014

Do You Have Too Much "Attitude"? What's That?

Has anyone ever said this to you:  You need to fix your attitude.

Your high school principal?
Your parents?
Your parole officer?

You look at them through slitted eyes, lips curled into a snarl, and think, "If you weren't so disagreeable, I wouldn't have any attitude."

Or maybe you wonder, "What does that mean?  What attitude?"

They would like to tell you what they mean, but there is no way they can explain it clearly with you looking at them the way an electric knife looks at a Thanksgiving turkey.

They wish they could tell you how to change your attitude, but whatever they say next is pointless when no ear catches the meaning.

Because when they say "you've got an attitude problem," they want you to realize that when you enter a room, your anger sneaks in ahead of you.  They think that your life would be better if your humility, your curiosity, or your open heart preceded you.  

You think that your attitude has everything to do with the room you've entered and the people who are there.  You think that they are judging you and trying to control you.

In addition, you have every reason to be angry.  You have been birthed into this world, merely a thinking monkey in clothes, bouncing around until you die.

But the attitude that precedes you into the room, your totally justifiable attitude that led someone to say you have it, is not going to get you what you need, unless you need enemies.

What they want to tell you is this:  Something is preceding you into the room and while people want to help you, that thing is driving them away.  It is yours.  You can take a look at it and think about it. You can ask the other person to name a specific behaviour that led to the attitude comment.  Indeed, you might not have attitude.  The other person might be the malefactor.  They might be projecting their own bad attitude onto you.  I don't know.

But if you are seeing a lot of anger and negativity around you, maybe you brought some of it with you.


Sadly, the people suffering from bad attitude often believe it is everyone else's fault.  The hardest thing to do is see our own contribution to our unhappiness - but when we are able to see it, we can change our lives.

Click here for a few examples of specific bad attitude behaviours.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What Did You Learn about Yourself from Your Last Relationship? Part II

I've discussed this before and will probably discuss it again.

Relationship are a great source of affection and companionship.  Relationships help us to experience the depths and heights of love.

At their best, relationships can create a profound sense of belonging in the world and feelings of connection that transcend the here and now.

At their worst, relationships help prepare us for our next relationship -- especially if we are reflective and able to assess our contribution to every stage of the relationship.  After all, we were a co-participant.

You don't need to break up to learn about yourself -- but the break-up lessons are vital and unique.  A break-up is painful and you want to avoid the pain next time you venture into a love relationship.  Often, though, we paddle headlong into the next cohabitation collaboration without pausing to reflect.  We follow our heated heart and hope for the best.

Here's some things I learned about myself from past relationships:

Lesson:  An emptiness caused by a lack of direction in my own life will not be filled by a relationship.

Resulting Action:  Find out what I want to do and do it.

Lesson:  A trip across the continent to get away from an unsatisfying relationship will not necessarily protect you from the next unsatisfying relationship.
Realization:  You don't have to leave town.

Lesson:  I can be a magnet for psychopaths because I tend to overlook bad behaviour.

Resulting Action:  Don't trust my own judgement.  Screen for psychopathology.  Ask my 50 closest friends about a potential romantic partner.

I also learned that I'd rather be alone than be in an unequal or unsatisfying relationship. That was probably the best lesson.  I had to learn to live without someone reflecting back my value.  If I needed someone's love to feel worthy, then my value disappears when the relationship ends.

What did you learn?  About yourself?  From your last relationship?