Sometimes I am not sure that we as humans fully grasp the impact that our not-so-good moments have on others. I was at a doctor's office today and, after I saw the doctor, I had to meet with the woman in his office who schedules testing and follow-up appointments and makes sure that your insurance is going to cover things. I have no doubt that hers is a very tough job, dealing with patients who don't feel well and insurance companies that all may have different opinions and policies. When I first approached her, she was "okay" in terms of attitude but she seemed a bit indifferent. I made an extra effort to be pleasant and try to get her to smile a bit. By the time I was ready to progress to the next window -- the "payment" window -- she was joking and smiling and she said "You have been so pleasant to talk to. Unfortunately, not all of our patients have been that way today."
She'd been beat down by folks with surly attitudes and they had her feeling less than great about herself and that had surfaced in her indifferent attitude when I first approached her. Attitudes are something that we often pass on -- they are pretty contagious. We catch them from others and then give them to the next person. And I believe that, 99% of the time, our attitudes reflect how we're feeling about ourselves. I am as guilty of this as anyone. If someone shakes my confidence in myself or causes me to start questioning my place in the world or my relationship with them, I start building big old thick and seeming impenetrable walls between myself and the world. Once those walls go up, my not-so-good attitude surfaces, my reaction to and treatment of others is impacted, and this bad cycle then starts with them.
Lisa has been the primary person in my life who has helped me to understand that I really do have control over my attitude. I can choose to have good days or bad days. What I have come to realize more and more is the impact that my good or bad days has on others -- the cycles I can start in them which they then will pass on to others.
Jesus Christ gives me the strength to try to maintain a good attitude. He helps me, when I reflect on things, to understand that my worth as an individual comes from Him, not from the world. When I keep this in mind, then I can maintain a positive attitude that will be contagious to others. When I get caught up in my "self," though, my opinion of myself will lag, my attitude will sag, and it all just sets off a round of negative tag.
(Hey, that last line was kind of fun! Make it a great day!)