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Don’t Change Your Circumstances. Change Your Attitude.

Some seasons in life are just more difficult than others. Period.

Maybe it’s because of a project you’ve taken on, maybe you’ve lost a loved one, maybe you’re worried about money or you ended a relationship or maybe you’re in a relationship that is taking a ton of your energy.

It’s inevitable. There’s no escaping it.

Some seasons are just hard.

But is it possible you are making things harder than they need to be—simply by having a bad attitude about it? Marianne Williamson says the key to transforming any situation is reframing it—looking at it from a different direction.

If there are many ways to see a situation, are you looking at it from more than one direction? (Tweet that)

attitude

It’s like a kid on a roller coaster who closes his eyes and buries his head in his fear-crossed arms on parts that are most terrifying or most unexpected to him. His attempt to protect himself from the circumstance doesn’t actually save him.

It just blocks his view.

Lately I had an epiphany about this.

What if my response to difficult circumstances is making the circumstances even harder than they need to be?

When the steep hills come, when things seem to flip upside down, when I realize there’s no way to get off this “ride”, what if closing my eyes or turning my attention doesn’t actually keep me from harm? What if it actually just blocks what I’m supposed to be learning?

What if it is keeping me from all the good that is trying to come to me?

What if what I really need is a change in attitude?

I love the image of the roller coaster because the picture that comes to mind is of a little kid who decides to stop being scared of the ride. He realizes he’s on it already, anyway. There’s nothing he can do about that.

So he might as well enjoy it.

Instead of closing his eyes, he opens them. Instead of crossing his arms and burring his head, he looks up and lets go of the handle bar. He lets the wind blow through his hair. He smiles. He’s having fun.

His circumstances haven’t changed. Only his attitude has.

What would happen if we changed our attitudes when we couldn’t change our circumstances?

Maybe we’d feel the wind on our face and through our hair.

Maybe we would smile instead of hunkering down, afraid.

We can’t always choose our circumstances

But we can choose our response to them.

We can choose not to take ourselves too seriously—to laugh at our biggest mistakes.We can choose not to let stress get the best of us. When we’re up to our knees in paperwork, we can make a game out of it. When we’re stressed about finances, we have gratitude for beans and rice the same way would would for an expensive steak.

We can choose to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel (rather than the dark tunnel itself).

Maybe, if we do this, we’ll start enjoying this crazy ride—rather than burying our faces and waiting for the day we’ll be able to get off.

If you’re interested in more resources regarding fear or any other topic I write about here, check out my Additional Resources page.

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Allison Fallon

I write books. I help people write books. I believe a regular practice of writing can change your life.

11 thoughts on “Don’t Change Your Circumstances. Change Your Attitude.”

  1. Allison,
    Great article!

    “What if my response to difficult circumstances is making it even harder than it needs to be?”

    Have you ever noticed the phenomenon where the perfect advice appears in your inbox on the day you need to hear that advice? It happened today with this piece. I’ve descended into survival mode as a bad response to circumstances. Today I resolve to smile, let the wind blow through my hair, and have fun.

  2. I thought I would have some thought provoking comment to such a blessing as received through this piece, yet all I can do is get up from my desk and shut the door to my office, so I can freely allow these tears to fall from my eyes. Tears of joy knowing that this too shall pass. Tears that remind me to put down the bat and pick up a feather because I am doing just fine and this season isn’t because I’m being punished for any one thing, its just that, a season.

    God works in mysterious ways and through some truly amazing people.

    Thank you so much for this word of encouragement.

    Tonia

  3. Your newsletter arrived at just the right moment. I find myself in just this mode at the moment. When I read the part, “enjoying this crazy ride”, I though of NaNoWrMo and I decided I will fling myself into the fray and take time to enjoy the crazy ride it is for me.

  4. To use an old sports metaphor, you hit it out of the park with this post. tremendously spot on with a lot of us white knuckles and closed eyes as we wait for change. better to embrace the experience and perhaps enjoy the ride. thanks for great article.

  5. I like your example of the roller coaster. It reminds me of that part in “Parenthood” when the wife tells Steve Martins character that life is like a roller coaster enjoy the ride. The roller coaster is all of life not just the scary uncomfortable parts.
    I am in the season of a scary part and I do hide.I’ve been hiding way too long and need to break out and enjoy what this season is telling me.
    Like Paul in Philippians (I paraphrase) “think on all the good stuff.” There is good stuff in scary things.
    Thank you for the reminder to keep our eyes open.

    Richard

  6. Oh how I needed this today! I love the analogy. Some days are so stressful with my kids and I just want to escape (which of course has it’s needed benefits too), but I rarely think in those moments to embrace where I’m at and have fun. I wonder how many tantrums could be avoided (both theirs and mine!) if I could choose to start each day with the intention of having FUN, rather than wondering what could go wrong today. Thanks for the challenge!

  7. Just where I am now.! Really inspiring. Need to change my mind about my reactions to things I cannot change. That is the power we have at hand.

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