5 min. to read.
Your attitude shapes the course of your life more than almost anything. That means that attitude is an incredibly important part of personal and spiritual growth. (We talked about that in the last episode.) So what happens if you find that a negative attitude is getting in the way of your growth? Do attitudes just happen to us? How can you change your attitude?
Conversation for Growth #2
So, how can we change our attitude?
This is part 2 of a conversation on attitude.
You can find the first discussion, “What is the role of attitude in growth?” here.
Points of interest in the discussion
- Change isn’t just about steps. We have to take into consideration our story and attitude.
- Our mental focus is very important. Whatever we focus on wires the neurons in our brain. Consciously paying attention to what we focus on can actually re-wire our brain!
- Often we don’t feel like attitudes are a choice, even though that’s not true. We have certain attitudes because there is a payoff for us.
- Understanding our story and our losses will help us understand why our attitudes are what they are.
- If you can reframe your story, you can change your attitude. (A good therapist can help you do this over time. Great reason to seek therapy!)
- Validate your feelings, but don’t get your identity caught up in that. You are not your emotions or attitude.
- Consider the story of Jesus’ baptism and temptation and it’s implications for the power of identity.
- Consider the story you’ve been told over and over by your family and people close to you. Then ask if this story is really true of you. Is this story shaping your attitude?
- Life altering moments like trauma and loss provide an opportunity to evaluate who you really are. Instead of experiencing these losses as a victim, how can you experience them as a way to see who you really are?
- Get clear that your identity is not the roles you play in life.
- So few people really want to grow because it’s easier (and more comfortable) to see yourself as a victim.
- The more in touch with your emotions you are, the more access you have to change your attitude.
- Your attitude will change when you start spending time in self-reflection.
- Don’t do this process alone. You need someone you trust who can handle you. With that support you can process the things that are real for you.
If you need to change your attitude, consider this:
1. Honestly have the feelings you’re having. Don’t pretend.
2. Tell the truth about who you are and your circumstances.
3. Consider your identity and story. Is your attitude coming from that? Do you know who you really are?
4. Look at your story and reframe the meaning you’ve given it.
5. Learn from your pain. Don’t avoid it or deny it.
6. Note what you’re focusing on. What you pay attention to shapes your mind and experience.
- “We hang on to certain attitudes because there is a payoff for it.” @gregorypnelson Tweet This
- “Change your attitude by remembering the moments in your life that are true, where you felt strong.” @gregorypnelson Tweet This.
- “Sometimes it takes a 3rd party outside your head to help you see the best truth about yourself.” @schelske Tweet This.
- “The best attitude is your real attitude.” @sovannpen Tweet This.
- “In situations that are devastating, grief is the appropriate response.” @sovannpen Tweet This.
- “We don’t grow if we’re not telling the truth. Period.” @schelske Tweet This.
- “I’m much better off confronting my issues than avoiding them.” @gwalter Tweet This.
- “Sometimes we have to make our mouths say the things we know are true!” Jeff Mattson Tweet This.
- “If you don’t like the fruit, look at the root.” Jeff Mattson. Tweet This.
- “Hope is risky. But if we want to change, it’s a place we have to live.” Shelley Thorpe-Kehler Tweet This.
- “Have permission to cry the tears you need to cry, but don’t swim in them!” @Sovannpen Tweet This.
In the Conversation
These folks are interesting and have something useful to say in the realm of personal and spiritual growth. Every one of them would love to help you in your journey of growth. Here’s where you can find and connect with them online:
- Jeff Mattson – Together with his wife Terra, Jeff leads an organization called Living Wholehearted that helps leaders do life with integrity. They do personal counseling, coaching, and seminars. Find Jeff at www.LivingWholehearted.com and on Facebook.
- Shelley Kehler-Thorpe – Shelley is a therapist in private practice in Milwaukie, OR. She is a specialist in grief counseling. You can reach her at email@example.com or at (503) 715-7308.
- Gary Walter – Gary is a paramedic, former pastor, writer, speaker, mentor and professor, based in Lincoln, Nebraska. Gary is an internet citizen online lots of places. Start here: www.GarySWalter.com.
- Greg Nelson – Greg is a speaker, writer, strength coach and pastor, based in San Francisco. Find him at www.GregoryPNelson.com.
- Sovann Pen – Sovann is a counselor, pre-marital counselor and sleep specialist. He’s also a ministry leader in Portland, OR. He counsels at www.ANewDayCounseling.org and is on twitter at @sovannpen.
Questions to consider:
Attitude is an important aspect of your spiritual growth. Take some time to reflect on your attitude. Read this post: Don’t let your attitude derail your purpose. Then think through these questions:
- Is a certain persistent attitude getting in the way of my growth or relationships?
- Is this attitude reflective of who I want to be, or who I believe God made me to be?
- What are you willing to do to change this attitude?