Change Your Attitude
“We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.”
Charles R. Swindoll
“I’m such a loser”, "I’ll never be any good”, “I’m so stupid”, “No one will love me”. How often do you tell yourself that you’re not good enough, or judge yourself inadequate?
How you think about yourself reflects on what you do. So this year, resolve to act differently -- develop a new attitude for 2010 – this would be a wonderful gift to yourself for the new year.
That’s the topic of the January Newsletter: How To Develop A New Attitude.
How we think about ourselves generally stems from childhood. A child hears adults say: “You’re so pretty” “You’re too fat” “You’re stupid” and similar remarks. Positive comments lead to confidence and esteem. But when you are told you’re not good enough, or you notice that you’re not measuring up to others around you, you develop negative beliefs about your capabilities and these thoughts become automatic.
When you judge yourself harshly, your self-esteem and confidence takes a downward spiral. But, if you lose confidence in a particular area of your life, it can transfer into other areas as well. Personal growth comes from taking on new challenges.
When you stay in your comfort zone, you become fearful of getting out. This creates stress when demands are made on you. You tell yourself, “I can’t”, “I don’t want to do this”, “I’ll make an idiot of myself” – that type of thing. These negative messages not only lead to anxiety, but you can actually make yourself sick with worry. This anxiety is self created, based on the your own judgments, not based on reality.
Just as you encourage others to be positive or to take on new ventures, you also have to encourage yourself. I often use the example of a skier in an important race. Would skiers be thinking ‘I’m not as good as the other racers’, 'I know I’m going to lose'. You bet they’re not. They’re totally focused on winning the race – whether they’re capable of accomplishing it or not.
Notice what you say to yourself and change it. Ex. You forgot your keys and you tell yourself “I’m an idiot!! How could I be so stupid”. Think of what you're saying. You don’t have to call yourself 'stupid'. Everyone forgets things occasionally (and if you forget more than most, develop a habit of putting things in the same place, or check before you leave the house). The keys won’t magically appear because you call yourself names. Frustration is a normal reaction, but once you've dealt with the issue, move on.
If you’re presented with a challenge, take it on. Don’t tell yourself anything
or say "I can’t", "I shouldn’t", "I’ll never…". Take it on!!
If you want to develop a new attitude, and gain self-esteem, take on new challenges. We learn from experiences but we also learn from failure, so don't fear new challenges. They put you in a win-win situation.
Tips for Attitude Change
1) Notice when you judge yourself or others
2) Ask yourself when these judgments started
3) Encourage yourself with your successes
4) Shift from anger to trust
5) Give up being a victim of your own abuse
6) Don’t compare yourself with others
7) Don’t guess what others are thinking about you
8) Recognize your strengths and build on them
9) Don’t envy others. Be grateful for what you have
10) Don’t resist challenges, open yourself to the new experiences.
Trying something new leads to personal development. If you don’t try something new, don't expect any change. So this year, give yourself the gift of change.
Q & A
What is your impression of how substance abuse can be viewed as a coping mechanism and as an indication of an underlying family issue. I have several alcoholics in my family. They all deny they have a "problem".
Answer: Hi LiAnne,
The common view of substance abuse is that there's no single reason for it. Substance abuse has three components:
Biological -- there may be a genetic predisposition (alcoholic parent, grandparent etc)
Psychological—ex. you believe that 'drinking is fun' etc.
Social – ex. if your friends and/or family members use substances, you become one of the crowd.
There is also no one reason that alcoholics will drink. They'll drink to take the edge off or cope. They'll drink to celebrate. They'll drink when they're angry, sad etc. Anything can be a trigger. They are escaping life temporarily, but their issues don't go away.
Alcoholics don't want to admit that drink controls them. They tell themselves, they can stop 'anytime'. They have a love/hate relationship with the drink, and blame everyone and everything for the reason they drink. They may also surround themselves with other drinkers, telling themselves that compared to their friends 'they are not that bad'. This is denial, which keeps the addiction.
A partner, family members, the police, their doctor etc., must give them an ultimatum where they have no choice to stop drinking. In AA language this is called hitting a bottom.
Here's a test to break denial
But, the alcoholic will remain in denial unless they’re confronted with the consequences of their behavior. If there was an alternative, an alcoholic would choose not to change.
I hope this answers your question
If you have a question or a suggestion
Here's how to contact me
Next month: How To Perk Up Your Relationship
If you or someone you know is new to recovery or has had a slip, Recovery Coaching is the answer to success.
For all other impulse control behaviors ex. compulsive eating, sex, computer addiction etc. Coaching is the way to go. For a free 30 minute session
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