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I have two friends that are currently dealing with some heavy medical issues. Thankfully neither issues are life-threatening but they both require some lifestyle adjustments and the nature of time.

What interests me is the drastic comparison between how both of them are dealing with their issues.  One is always down, depressed and constantly posting cryptic medical updates on her Facebook page (you know…the kind requiring further inquiry) and some days it pains me that she just seems downright defeated.  The other is upbeat, positive, and expectant of good things while carrying on with her life.

About three years ago I too dealt with a health issue due to an injury that required extensive physical rehabilitation (not exactly the same but somewhat similar to theirs). Observing how they are handling their situations so differently got me to thinking how did I handle mine?  I know I was always expecting the healing to come by constantly trusting my Mom’s favorite saying “this too shall pass”. But the big question is “Was I always upbeat and positive?”  I think not.  I know for sure my family surely saw that down side of me but I may have been more positive around my friends.  Anyway, it’s just something that I thought about.

Of course we’re not going to always smile through negative circumstances no matter how positive and enlightened we may think we are.  Expression and experiencing the feeling of emotions is the very core of being human.  However, since my injury a few years ago I’ve learned that we can always manage our emotions.  It is a matter of training ourselves on how we react, respond and the internal conversations we have with ourselves.

One primary thing I learned about myself back then is that negativity often breeds more negativity.  When I felt emotionally “down” my body was also down, in pain and definitely not in life-giving healing mode.  When I remained positive, I truly believe my body responded positively (although I have no scientific evidence of this) in life-affirming mode.  I believe it is fine to feel the negative emotions but we have the power to choose if we will allow them to spew out as irritability, defeat, etc.

I re-learned this lesson during a season of long-term unemployment.  When I felt down, I didn’t see the job leads I wanted and everything looked bleak.  I shifted my thinking and my attitude.  It wasn’t the ideal circumstance but everything is a lesson in learning and I learned the lesson that attitude is everything.

Circumstances can always define our attitude—if we allow them.   Our circumstances may be related to a variety of things (i.e., our health, family/relationships, lifestyle, workplace or financial issues).  What I’ve learned is do not allow your attitude to be misaligned by negative circumstances. Always strive to remain positive and open.

This Cherokee parable is one that I often remember when I feel the pull of negativity in my life and on my emotions.

two-wolves

Even when the future looks bleak and uncertain there is always something to be joyful and thankful for.  Fight the fight and don’t allow the bad wolf to win.

When negative circumstances affect your life what have you done to offset developing a negative attitude?

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