I choose my attitudes. That is so true – but I’m not always aware that I have that option. I am getting more aware of it more often, though! This week there was a great example of this. I had to go to Birmingham for a week of studies. It’s about 2 hours 10 minutes to drive, or it should be, so I left about 3 hours before I was supposed to be there. It was a relaxed drive, but once I got to Birmingham I got hopelessly lost, and with no satellite navigation I was totally on my own. I drove around for a long time, getting stressed as time passed, but not yet too stressed because I had factored in that time. When I eventually found the place I had about 10 minutes left… and then I hit the parking lot. Which was packed full, they were letting cars in one at a time as others left, and the queue stretched for two blocks. I sat in it for about an hour before I got to park.
By the time I actually got out of my car and made my way to the building, I was thoroughly stressed as well as annoyed and desperately wanted to vent onto somebody – blame someone, find fault, hurt someone. Seriously. But as I walked toward the building I became aware that I could, alternatively, simply walk in there, decide to like the people who were there, take a light-hearted approach and laugh it off.
That’s what I did – I apologised for being late, explained what had happened, smiled a lot, and chose to interest myself in getting to know the people who were on the course with me. They are in fact a fascinating lot, from all over the world. The course has so far been demanding, exciting, stretching… and all because at the beginning I decided I was going to have a positive attitude and enjoy it.
I’m still in Birmingham. I stay with a couple with two young kids, and I had never met them before (I know the guy who leads the relating church here, and he arranged it). Why I’m always fearful of meeting new people I don’t know, but I was and I consciously chose, again, to believe the best; to get to know them and be interested in them; and to simply walk in there with an open attitude and BELIEVE that I was going to really like them, and they me. And so it is! They are wonderful, great to talk to, so interesting. And they are so great about having me in their home, I’ve got an ensuite room to myself and wireless Internet and they gave me a key to the house as well as lent me their satellite navigation (thank GOODNESS!).
So again – my natural inclination is always for the worst, anticipating and expecting bad things and getting them. Not believing the best will happen, not believing the best about people. As I become more aware of the fact that I have a CHOICE to make in this, I try to make it as much as possible and I find the concept – and the results – revolutionary.