Attitudes are Contagious: Catch the Good Ones. Heal the Bad Ones.
When I am in hungry, tired, or rushed, things can seem more personal. I may feel more anxious or impatient. My attitude declines. It is easier for me to treat other people the way I feel. Then I infect them with my bad attitude. By simply taking a deep breath, having lunch, or taking a break, I can often change the way everything looks and improve the way I treat other people.
By understanding that other people experience the same decline in attitudes based on what is going on with them, I can avoid catching a bad attitude from them. They are human. I am human. I can allow them the same understanding people have so often given me.
My response to other people in this light relieves me of the stress of owning their bad feelings. I can let those feeling pass by. I feel healthier when I am able to see that as humans we share the same wiring. I can find compassion for people who need compassion. I can find patience with people who are being impatient. I can stop and listen to people who are being rude without agreeing but simply letting them air out their thinking.
Driving has a profound territorial impact on attitudes. In my car, I have a sense that I am in my personal moving territory. My mind says that the area around my car is like the yard around my house. It is my space, my yard, my safe distance between from other people and cars, my mobile territory.
If another driver moves into my mobile territory, I have a sense of violation and frustration. My sense of mobile territory can even extend to a sense of injustice when I see a driver cut off another driver.
Among the thousands of other drivers on the highways every day are people who are perhaps overwhelmed, experiencing grief, living in fear in failure, or experiencing other very difficult situations. There are other people who are simply tired and hungry and have just had a bad day and caught a bad attitude from someone else.
I can not change their attitude. I can change my attitude. Maintaining a bad attitude is painful. If I allow myself to stay angry or anxious, or fearful, I am trying to punish other people when I am hurting myself. Bad attitudes are very painful. Good attitudes have so many benefits.
- I am healthier.
- I feel better.
- I can focus.
- I can feel joy in the present moment.
- I can celebrate life as a flow of passing events.
When someone has a cold, I do not see them as being a bad person. I see them as a person with a temporary disease. When someone has a bad attitude, I see them as a person with a temporary attitude disorder.
Some people are unpleasant all the time. Most people avoid those types of people. When that person is your boss or co-worker, you may find that the best way to keep from catching negative attitudes from these people only takes some practical steps.
- Be very positive and upbeat around these people.
- If the person is your boss, try to understand what your boss wants done and try to do those things without expectation of approval.
- See them as people and not as evil forces.
- Angry, rude, difficult, even obnoxious people are just people. When I see them as human just as I am human, I realize that they are the one in pain not me.
The most important thing that I can do is to seek positive people and seek out positive things to read or watch. I love the healing that I get from positive people, places, and things. Today I am going to catch the good attitudes and heal the bad ones, in myself and in the people around me.
Image: Sean MacEntee/Flickr