Attitude: Merriam-Webster defines it as a “state of mind”. It can be in the form of a positive or negative attitude to ones circumstances and events. But when we look at our own attitude, are we really aware of how we are perceived by others, or more importantly, how our attitude might affect another person’s day?
For the past week I have had some interesting situations that a part of me wanted to scream out “seriously???” Nothing dreadful. Some were in my mind “inconvenient”, and not “on course” with my goals. Most of them affected each day’s schedule of activities and responsibilities. One situation, as mentioned in my prior post on optimism, required a humble apology that I recognized as my needing to make.
For the most part situations this week were handled in stride. Even yesterday’s situation, where my banker who has been helping me with an annuity transfer, apologized for something that needed to be addressed before the funds could be transferred. I was upfront with this person, sharing firmly my disappointment in how things fell through the cracks, yet I still desired to move forward with my choice of transaction.
The hic-cup occurred, and although most people do not make the time to listen, I could acknowledge that I was being heard as to the specifications of my concerns, without interruption. A mistake happened, my money is still safe, and because of her honesty and acknowledgment of what had gone wrong, I am pleased that I did not alter my relationship with her and my bank. The key to this situation was that she listened, did not point the blame and took action. Also, I did not throw in the towel the first moment the situation was brought to my attention.
People are human, people make mistakes and although it is easy to get mad at others, let the world know how “bad” someone or business is, is it really worth the effort in spreading infestation of negativity, bad Karma, or a bad attitude around? Is it not worth trying to find a resolution before trashing what might potentially be a great thing? In addition, before we get upset, we need to check in with our own reflection, to make sure our standards are as perfect as we expect other’s to be.
At the end of one of our phone calls, one of the things she said was “Laura, thank you for being so understanding.” We spent a few days communicating back and forth while finally having closure. I came away from this experience knowing that both our attitudes made a difference in the end result.
Every service industry takes a beating from people who are unhappy, not getting what they want, mistakes that are made, and misunderstandings, etc. In today’s economy, keeping customers happy is one of the hardest things a business can do. Their reputation is on the line 24/7. It takes only an instant for someone to start spreading negative information about others, via word-of-mouth, on-line feedback, etc. And for those who do not complain, you might find that you lost a long time customer.
Personal relationships take a beating everyday as well. Whether family, friend, classmate, neighbor, business partner, or co-worker, we run the risk of offending others, misunderstanding, and making mistakes. How one handles the situation is a reflection of what is going on within them as well as how they might perceive life.
Whether one is dealing with financial, health, physical or emotional hardships, it is not a reason to make the lives of those around you difficult. There are people who are dealing with health issues, causing them to say and do things that they are not aware of. And, yes, we will all at times react inappropriately, but are you able to bring things around so that the volcano does not erupt, burning others along its course? Or, if you are on the receiving side, are you able to calmly take a moment to reflect and ask yourself if you are at fault or what might be going on to cause him/her to respond in a way that is not of his/her normal demeanor?
The best way in dealing with disappointments in life is to understand. Place yourself in the shoes of the other and ask yourself is it worth it? Take a moment to evaluate your circumstances that could be causing you to over-react, or even their circumstances that might be causing their eruptive or rude behavior.
Today I am not discussing “world events and problems” but rather what affects us everyday. Today I am referencing the people we work with, those we live with and serve, and the events within our community.
I had a choice to either become self-righteous and inappropriately angry, or forgive and move on. It was a mistake. Could there be more? Sure. When does one move on? When the person or company shows no remorse and continues with the same type of mistakes or attitude of disrespect. It does happen.
This is also not about becoming a doormat for others to take advantage of you. It is about having a heart of grace with understanding. It is about treating others in the manner in which you would also like to be treated.
Now, it might come across as my being a meek and mild mannered person. This is far from the truth. I have been told that I am a very calm person putting others at ease. I have also been told that I am a strong advocate for my family, others and myself. Both of these are true, yet there is a balance.
Once a person truly knows me, they will see that I am actually a down-to-earth person who laughs frequently, enjoys what life has to offer, looking for the positive in every situation. I am not about having everything “my way”, but rather about family, teamwork and accountability. Disrespect, arrogance, exaggeration of the truth, lies or abuse from others is not a character trait I find flattering with anyone I know or encounter.
I am certainly not perfect. I make mistakes and sometimes say things that offend people, even without my realizing it. Yet, when one is kindly approached, and given the opportunity to apologize, explain or correct the situation, a relationship is strengthened vs. being destroyed due to the fear of confrontation.
I do believe our culture has turned towards pointing the fault at others, creating the unfortunate ability to resolve issues. Our culture has lost the art of conflict resolution. The simplest gift of kindly approaching someone, assertively sharing how you felt or heard something, is being traded towards ignorance, hiding and gossip. Does this really resolve a problem?
So, in the scheme of our attitude and how it affects others, one can honestly say it has a huge impact in our lives as well as those around us. We will never like everyone we meet. There will always be some challenging people for us to deal with. But, when we start reaching out, being upfront, giving kindly without judgment, forgiving, etc., one will soon discover that this world has much more to offer us when we give it our best attitude.
Be aware of the words you choose and the reactions you have. Be positive, be giving and loving. May the boomerang effect of your attitude be a reflection of your heart.
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