‘Attitude’ can be seen as something negative, or something ‘cool’ and desirable – depending upon your attitude of course!
Originally the word referred to a person’s disposition or manner, but in a modern context it has also come to infer boldness, brashness or arrogance.
But without getting into the psychology of this stuff, in fact, everyone has an attitude at any given time, it just depends on whether it’s that obvious to everyone or not. You can deduce a person’s attitude from their choice of words, their mannerisms, or how they treat other people.
Someone may be a good person at heart, but their undertone could be one of being superior, ‘better than thou’, and of always being busy and not having time for others. It is likely that you may respond kindly to their good aspects, but that you may dislike them for their attitude.
An attitude is a position someone takes on something. So I could perhaps have a feeling that everyone is lazy around here, because no work seems to be getting done. That may create in me an attitude of irritation and disdain, and will determine the way I interpret their actions, and the way I speak to them – probably with contempt or condemnation. If, on the other hand I take the position that everyone is good at heart and they are trying their best, then my positive attitude will mean that my behavior towards them is more likely to be of appreciation, respect and encouragement.
Another example. If I feel that my job is a waste of time, that it serves no purpose, it is meaningless, then I will start to resent it. I will begin to hate going to work every day and I will make the least effort to make any contribution to the company, my performance, or ethic. If on the other hand, I feel that the job is okay for the time being, it is bringing in the money for me to survive, and in the meantime I am getting work experience, then, even though it is not the ideal job for me, I will make the most of it and go to work joyfully and with an attitude of gratitude.
Of course the EGO plays a big part in our positioning. The Ego usually believes itself to be right and deems others to be wrong. We need to be wary of the ego and of creating false positions such as I am the best and I am right and I am perfect. Because from this lens, no one else can ever be right, and I will continue living in a bubble of false illusion!
An interesting exercise is to sit at a table and draw a number three (‘3’). The person sitting on your right will see it as a ‘W’. The person sitting on your left will say it is an ‘M’. Finally, the one on the opposite side will see it as an Arabic 4 (if they understand Arabic!). So it’s all a matter of perspective. It’s not only you who are right, but all of you.
Taking on a certain attitude is like wearing certain coloured goggles. When I have the green ones on, I am convinced that everything is green. And when I am wearing the red ones, then everything is red; it can’t possibly be green.
In fact, the situation is what it is; it’s my attitude that makes all the difference to creating a happy, peaceful, joyous life, or one that is dreary and full of pain and misery. So it’s totally up to me. And what’s more, is that people are very likely to live up… or live down… to the attitude I have of them.
Can I change my attitude? Certainly I can. I need the wisdom to realise whether the current attitude I am holding is serving me or not, whether it is winning me love, friendship, support or not. Sometimes it may be something as simple as a shift in my way of thinking that will change my attitude. Perhaps trying to see the same thing from someone else’s perspective can just help me to shift mine.
It’s time… to shift my attitude.
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK