I do this thing a lot, where I snap at my husband, Eric, for no reason. Like he is doing the laundry and being sweet as can be and I am snapping at him because I’m frustrated that I can’t find my BCBG flats that I literally had one second ago. It’s totally unfair, totally misdirected, and totally unnecessary.
I have a bad attitude way more than I would like to admit. And I often forget that how I choose to respond to things is entirely my choice. Since I spend most of my time with Eric, my most “dynamic” attitudes come out when I’m around him. Usually there is a logical explanation for my attitude; “so and so did this”, “she said that”, “I’ve been at home writing all day and I’m a crabby pants”. But what I often forget when I am making my list of reasons for my most recent outburst, is that regardless of the reason, It was my choice to respond the way I did.
What an annoying truth, huh? It is way easier to blame our bad attitude on someone or something around us, but, in the end, it’s all on us. But don’t worry! There is a positive to this. Since it is a choice how we respond to any given situation, we are not stuck in a never-ending pattern of bad attitudes!
Now, that is all well and good when we are just a little annoyed, or frustrated, or stressed. But then there are the times when we are about to burst with emotion and cannot figure out how in the heavens to not take that out on someone else. That is when it gets tricky, and that is when altering our attitude is more important.
It helps me to think of it like this. I don’t want to be a grumpy person, I don’t want to snap at innocent bystanders to my emotional merry-go-rounds. I want to be kind and loving and respectful. Not to say that all feelings should be disregarded and immediately replaced with other more “appropriate” emotions, but that I can choose better ways to respond.
For instance, if I am angry at something that happened at work, I can choose to come home and talk about it as opposed to freaking out that I can’t find my BCBG flats. Or if I am angry at something someone has said to me, I can discuss it with them instead of passive aggressively ignoring their texts. It seems like a simple concept, right? Take a deep breath, figure out what’s really bothering you, address it. But that doesn’t mean it will always be easy.
I have been working on this practically my whole life. As a child, when temper tantrums were more socially acceptable, I didn’t think about it as much. But as I’ve gotten older, I have realized that sometimes I really just need to get a hold of myself and it’s as simple as that.
If pulling yourself up by your bootstraps doesn’t work for you, that’s okay. It doesn’t always work for me either. Sometimes I need to step away from whatever it is that I am doing and focus on something else. A simple distraction can go a long way in breaking apart your mood; you may even forget about your bad attitude all together. Having accepted that I have an attitude problem, I now have an ongoing list of things that have helped me in the past. My top three are: taking a bath, going for a run, and laying in the dark and listening to soothing music. Find what works for you and store it away in your mind for next time.
Remember, that behind every attitude is something that is bothering us. Journal, or talk to someone, and figure out what that is. It’s important to acknowledge our feelings and give them the proper attention. What happens from there is up to us!