Thursday, February 08, 2007

How To Develop Your Personal Attitude Preferences – Part 3


The way you treat other people is a reflection of your own attitude. You cannot expect to sustain a positive attitude by acting negatively toward others. Even if your positive mood is not returned, you must strive to retain a sense of dignity and enthusiasm. Eventually, those who begrudge your happiness will either give in and join you, or give up and go away- and in either case, you will be rid of the negative influence without stooping to negativity yourself.

“Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

How can you refrain from treating other people poorly? The answer lies in your own behavior. It is not so much what you should do as what you should not do when dealing with negative emotions from others. Following are some basic guidelines for behaving better and retaining your positive attitude:

DON’T Throw Fits. Many people resort to temper tantrums when they don’t get their own way. Some do this without even realizing it. Ranting about the unfairness of the situation will not change things; all it will do is generate more negative emotions and fuel the flames. The person you’re confronting probably won’t give in because you’re whining. Learn to recognize the signs when you start to experience a meltdown, and force yourself to step back and take a more rational look at the situation. There may be more to it than you first noticed.

DON’T Stay Angry. Getting angry is acceptable, and even beneficial in some circumstances. Anger can be a powerful motivating force. However, getting angry is far different from staying angry. Holding on to your anger is counterproductive; you will simply remain where you are in the situation and nothing will change except the level of your anger. When someone or something makes you mad, take that anger and channel its energies into doing something about the situation. If there is nothing to be done, use your anger to do something for yourself. But whatever you do, don’t allow anger to keep you rooted to the spot.

DON’T Hold Grudges. Nearly everyone can think of at least one person they have vowed never to speak to again for as long as they live. You may be able to think of several people who fall into this category. Holding a grudge against someone can occur spontaneously, or it can be a carefully planned and executed assault. Some people have elevated grudge-holding to an art form, forcing everyone else around them to take extra precautions with the seating arrangements at family gatherings to avoid putting together people who are loudly ignoring each other. It is easy to form a grudge, and infinitely harder to let one go. However, you must let go of grudges in order to maintain a positive attitude.

Maintaining negative feelings for a sustained length of time will taint your mental garden, and provide an automatic supply of negativity whenever you are reminded of the person you’re not speaking to. By nursing a grudge, you are expending energy that could otherwise be used to enrich your own life. If you would rather not speak to whomever it is that angered you, that is a choice you can make. The better choice is to simply agree to disagree, and go your separate ways. Letting go makes you a better person, inside and out.

DON’T Act Superior. Believing you are better than others is a damaging attitude, even when it’s the truth. A little humility goes a long way. When others feel comfortable talking with you, you will find your confidence growing and your attitude improving.

Putting someone else down in order to make yourself feel better is a dangerous proposition, and more often than not it will backfire and return to haunt you. Be the best person you can be, but don’t allow yourself to feel superior. We are all only human in the end.

DO Unto Others. The Golden Rule is still the best rule to follow. Treat other people the way you want to be treated, and eventually they will follow your example. When you extend courtesy and kindness to others, it will always come back to you in one form or another, sometimes when you least expect it.

Angry words and hurtful action can be forgiven and forgotten, but good deeds linger for a lifetime. Even if the people you treat with respect do not offer the same to you, take comfort in the knowledge that you are behaving with dignity and have nothing to be ashamed of. A lack of shame breeds fearlessness, and those who are fearless can accomplish anything.

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