Our attitude defines who we are. It’s impossible to have a positive life with a negative attitude. Unfortunately, for many, managing their attitude is a daily struggle. It’s tough to live life battling negativity and even tougher for those around them. This article will explain just how damaging a poor attitude can be, how to fix it and how to deal with those working through it. So if you, or someone you love, suffers from an ornery attitude problem, this may help put things into perspective.
To be completely honest, I cop an attitude more often than I should. It’s one of the biggest challenges I am working to overcome. Hoping it would diminish as I got older, I never gave it much thought. Bad idea, because guess what? I’m now a wife, a mom and a full-blown adult…and look who still gets attitude. It’s unfortunate to admit because when I see others acting out the same temptation, I immediately notice that it’s not an attractive trait to possess.
As shared in Overcome Adversity in 10 Steps, I believe the two main purposes in life are to 1) learn lessons and 2) love one another. When I succumb to the oh so tempting attitude, I completely demolish any chance of accomplishing the two purposes in life I hold so dear.
We tell ourselves we won’t act certain ways or do certain things, but then turn right around and almost instantly do them again. So why do we give in? What does coping an attitude achieve? Well let’s see, it puts you in a bad mood (for quite some time), it damages relationships and in NO way does it accomplish anything positive.
13 Destructive Traits of a Bad Attitude
- Developing an attitude instantly puts you in a bad mood. And NO one wants to be in the same room with a Debbie Downer.
- To those watching, it transforms you into an immature teenager. I’m sure you recall those days when it was cool to pop a tude. Trust me, it’s not cool now and it wasn’t cool then.
- It is impossible to have an attitude and be genuinely kind. Your heart is in a negative place and therefore negativity flows.
- It damages your relationships. It’s impossible to have a healthy relationship with anyone when your heart is heavy with negative emotion.
- If lingered over time, it permanently damages relationships. Resentment builds in your heart as you let whatever is bothering you fester. It also builds resentment in those around you.
- Almost always you say hurtful, unkind things to those who you love. And though it’s tough to admit, it’s intentional.
- You convert to selfish mode. Everything now is all about you and how it makes you feel. Being selfish is dangerous to the soul. The bible warns us in many scriptures that, “wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.” -James 3:16
- It makes you ugly on the outside. We’ve all experienced this. A once physically beautiful person can turn ugly in an instant if their heart and attitude are ugly. I was once reminded of this when Chris honestly told me that when I have an attitude, he is unable to see my physical beauty.
- It’s exhausting. Volatility is not an admirable trait. Going from happy to pissed off and back is exhausting, for you and those around you.
- It doesn’t accomplish anything good. Typically our bad attitude is triggered by anger in response to someone else. Developing a poor attitude will not remedy this situation, it will likely only make it worse.
- We become unable to see clearly the things that really matter. A poor attitude overtakes every part of your thoughts, feelings and life.
- If you’re a parent, an aunt, uncle, a godparent or are ever around kids, it sets a poor example of what a mature adult should act like.
- A negative attitude will stop you in your tracks. Whatever you were working or thinking of doing will be ruined, as your mind is consumed with negativity.
7 Steps to Abolish Your Bad Attitude
1. Remove Yourself From the Situation
When you feel your mood swelling, the worst thing to do is to stay in the situation that sparked it. Get outta there! Remember prevention is key, so prevent yourself from letting your mood escalate into an even bigger problem. If you can’t leave the situation without causing a scene or acting rude (example: you’re at a family dinner), do your best to think about something else positive.
2. Realize the Need to Get Out of it ASAP
An angry heart is controlled by evil. All attitudes start small; it’s much easier to turn around and start heading the opposite direction when you’ve just begun the journey. The longer you let your heart travel down a negative road, the harder it will be to reverse it. Illustrated well by most health conditions, prevention is key. It’s better to prevent heart disease with a lifestyle of healthy foods and exercise than to treat it. Once the damage is done, it’s mostly irreversible if drastic changes aren’t made.
“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy…And ‘don’t sin by letting anger control you.’ Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” -Ephesians 4: 23-27
Once you’re in a safe, quiet place, ask yourself why you’re in this funk. What triggered it? Do you know? What is the deeper issue? Let’s face it. Most of the time, an attitude will pop because a needle was tossed on the haystack. Your spouse forgetting to put their dish in the dishwasher or take out the trash isn’t really the main issue here. It’s likely a series of wrongs you have felt committed against you as opposed to that last straw. The confusing part is this: your spouse, or whoever else you have an issue with, has no idea what’s really wrong.
The best thing to do is to write down your feelings, good and bad. Create two lists side by side: “Why I’m Mad” and “Why I’m Glad”. This exercise will help to relieve your jumbled brain of confusion by organizing your thoughts and feelings on paper. Go ahead and fill out the mad side first, list why you’re hurt, I’m sure it’ll be easier. Once you’ve unloaded, it will be easier to list some things you are happy about and thankful for. There are three main objectives here: 1) get things off your chest to feel liberated, 2) clarify in your mind the real issue so when you return, you may clearly communicate what is really wrong and 3) bring a bit of perspective back.
Pray whenever you feel moved. For the best results pray before and after making your list. Pray for yourself and pray for who you’re mad at. Ask for healing in your heart and in your relationships. If you feel it’s just impossible to be genuine in praying because you’re too upset, try using these descriptive prayers written in Keeping a Happy Family with Prayer. Once you connect with the Lord, you will feel peace flood into your soul and you can start to move on.
5. Exert Energy
If you haven’t realized it yet, exercise lets off steam, literally and figuratively. This idea was discussed in 14 Ways to Enforce Positive Thinking Today. The quicker you can get your heart rate up, the better. Stress revealing hormones will be released in your brain to instantly make you feel better. Use the quiet time during your workout as a personal reflection. What is your part in this? Attempt to take responsibility for your actions as opposed to blaming others for what they have done wrong. And just a side note, don’t fall into the temptation to use alcohol or drugs to mask the feelings. If anything, being under the influence will only exacerbate the feelings and remove inhibitions to say what you think without a filter.
6. Resolve your Issue
Hopefully you will have gained clarity on your situation after completing the above steps. If you’re dealing with a bad situation, Why do Bad Things Happen may be a helpful tool for you. When you approach your spouse, or whomever you have an issue with, go calmly, with an open heart, an open mind and a desire for resolution. If you are looking to fight, stay away. There is a difference between calmly discussing a matter and spilling your guts and letting your mouth run wild. Remember that words cut deep. Even though it will immediately feel good to throw hurtful words to “get back” at the hurt they caused you, soon after it will turn into remorse. There is no taking back harsh words, it may take a while to heal and they may leave scars.
7. Complete the 21 Day Attitude Fix
It’s a 10 minute a day program aimed to increase positivity and gratefulness, in turn, reducing conflict. I created this to permanently change negative reactions into positive ones and ultimately to have better relationships. Here’s the article/program link here.
If you’re struggling with attitude you’re likely having issues with your temper, How to Calm Down Before You’re Raging Mad is a great read.
5 Simple Steps to Deal with a Negative Nancy
1. Stay Calm
It is so hard to stay in a good mood when your spouse, or someone close to you, is in a funk. Negative energy is highly infectious. It is poisonous to the soul. But fighting fire with fire will only spread destruction. Say a little prayer immediately when you notice an attitude in the other room, you will need all the defense you can get to avoid catching the same disease.
2. Gently Inform Them of Their Unfortunate Attitude
Sometimes, they may not even realize their poor mood until it reaches a certain level or is pointed out by someone else. It’s best to lovingly warn them quickly before it escalates into something that is difficult to reverse.
3. Tell Them You Love Them
The more positive and loving you are, the harder it is for them to continue in their bad mood. Positivity is also infectious. Subconsciously, love will seep into their angry heart and begin to soften it.
4. Hug Them
Physical touch is an amazing thing. It cuts like a knife through negativity and saddened emotions. When researching how to deal with toddler tantrums, I read that hugging them during their fit works wonders. And yes, we are all toddlers inside at times, especially when we give in to the dreaded attitude, the adults version of the tantrum.
5. Fight Anger with Love
“My attitude is based on how you treat me.” Sadly, that is one of the first results google showed me when searching for quotes about attitude. It is humanly counter-intuitive to show love when someone is displaying the opposite. But we’ve all heard it, turn the other cheek. Jesus directly spoke these words,
“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.” -Matthew 5:38-40
I hope you have received some helpful tools to deal with the next big attitude when it hits, whether it be yours, or someone else’s.
If you liked this, you’ll love the 21 Day Attitude Fix. It will change your life!
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