“The remarkable thing is I have a choice every day of what my attitude will be. I cannot change my past. I cannot change the actions of others. I cannot change the inevitable. The only thing I can change is attitude. Life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it.” ― Charles R. Swindoll
Multiple credible sources say that life is 90% about our reactions. If that is so, it behooves us to learn to react in ways that are beneficial. To do that we have to decide ahead of time who we are because reactions come from that deep place. They may be flippant and short lived, or drawn out for months or years. . . but the truth is a reaction comes from what we believe in our hearts and in our heads.
Years ago, I reacted to a friends cutting accusations by reeling in hurt for far too long. The truth was she had seen right through me, but my pride kept me from realizing it and owning up to what she was getting at. My intent was mostly pure. I wanted to help. Had I been forthright and acknowledged the fact that she was right – I did believe she needed help because she was inadequate (ouch), things might have been completely different. Instead of lovingly saying, you are right, ‘I do think you are deficient, we are all inadequate in some areas – that’s why we live in community,’ I reacted with an uncalled for amount of hurt.
I’m not excusing her words – it was an attack and even upon my apology she ridiculed me telling me I was acting like an adolescent. But that is not the point.
The truth was, not only did I truly want to offer my help because I knew that my education had given me tools she did not have, I wanted her approval because she had status within our community and I believed she held power. Sadly, it took me a long time of reeling before I chose to examine my beliefs and change my reaction.
I know many a person, like me, who claim to believe that ‘all things work together for good’, or ‘everything happens for a reason’ but when things don’t go as planned they react in ways that that reflect quite the contrary. Why? Because they doubt the truth of what they say they believe.
If you are in the midst of a reaction that isn’t beneficial, I hope that you will not spend time letting the wound fester. I hope that you will re-examine your heart and your head and make the choice to change your reaction accordingly. As Swindoll says our attitude is something we can change.
If you have flippant, quick reactions that you are not proud of, I hope you too will get to the core of what is causing them – then do the work it takes to change your beliefs to what you know as right, truthful and beneficial for you and the world you influence.