Attitude is a Control Issue

Attitude is a Control Issue February 18, 2019

Attitude is like an accessory we put on and wear every day. It jangles and rubs and reveals itself throughout the circumstances of our lives. We cannot escape the reality of having to confront our attitude. Throughout the day, we make adjustments according to its prompting.

Our attitude is closely tied to our emotions. But they are not synonyms. The way we feel is an alert, an invitation. Attitude is the response to that invitation. While emotions are largely patterned, attitude is something different. It is a control issue.


Family or Stranger

Our attitude is one of the three things we can control. These are distinct from all other considerations in life in that it is solely in our power. It is easy to blame others, lament circumstances, and cast ourselves as victims to the world around us. To believe that our attitude is a natural reaction to external stimuli. But that is not true. Emotions are that. Attitude is the deliberate choice we make in response to those emotions. It is on us. Under our control.

We like to pretend our attitude is a thief prowling in the night. An invader. A stranger. We do this by tying it so closely to our emotions that we cannot tell one apart from the other. We have to adopt a certain attitude because we feel a certain way. As if the two are mutually inclusive. One and the same.

In the same vein, we often talk about “controlling” our emotions. We can’t really control emotions. We can use them properly. We can make choices in response to them. But they are turbo-charged alarms letting us know a value is at stake. We can’t really control them. What we mean by this phrase is that we need to take our emotions and use them well, which is the impetus of attitude.

Attitude is not a feeling, it is a perspective. And there is nothing more familiar, more familial, than perspective. It is the true home of our active self.


Ally or Foe

We can use the opportunity of attitude for good or ill. We can pretend our emotions aren’t there or we can pretend they are king. Or, we can chose to acknowledge them (along with a myriad of additional factors of life) and intentionally chose the attitude we’ll adopt in response. Likewise, we can engage with our circumstances and relationships or we can ignore them. We can pretend they aren’t happening or pretend they are definitive. Or, we can take them in stride.

The determining factor is our choice. It is the choosing of our soul that determines the attitudes of our day.

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