We all have experiences all day long, and as we do we “see them” differently. To “see” something is to “see” it as really, really good or really, really bad or at any place in between those two extremes. It is amazing how two people can have the same exact experience but “see” it totally different, in fact one person will see it as really, really bad and another will see it as really, really good. It is important to realize that how we “see” things affects how we feel and act, the way each one of us looks at events basically determines who we are as a person in the sense of our behavior most of the day. This attitude is amazingly powerful in our life determining to a huge extent how successful we will be in every area of life. How we “see” is a learned “attitude”. We have learned it from those around us who have influenced us over the years, and by various life shaping experiences, but a key truth is that we can change how we “see” things if we want to, and are willing to work at it diligently. The older we are the stronger this “attitude” will be in us, and the more work it will take to change it.
The simple way to say this is to say some people have a “positive attitude”, and others have a “negative attitude”. No one is just one or the other, we all are someplace in between the two extremes, but most understand the terms. The beginning place for change to happen is we must fairly accurately rate ourselves as mostly “positive” or “negative”. This is a huge blind spot in most people’s lives, so it will take some serious self-examination and reflection.
Start with these three simple questions, (1) how much do I grumble about things I don’t like? (2) How often do I get angry or irritated at people who do stupid things? and (3) how regular am I in a grouchy or foul mood?
Most people have long ago accepted themselves as who they are, meaning they don’t think they can change, so their expectation is that everyone around them will accept them the way they are as well, so conflict or failure as a result of their negative attitude is everyone else’s fault.
For those seriously wanting to move the dial in their life toward the “positive” direction the place to start is to memorize Philippians 4:4. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” also 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” and Philippians 2:14-15, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world”. Memorize them well and meditate on them over and over again everyday. There is more but this is a great place to start.