By Dr. Perry, PhD
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” ~Maya Angelou
Last summer I was able to take some time off work and fly to Paris. On one particular day while on vacation, I bravely chose to wander the crowded hallways of The Palace of Versailles along with hundreds of others. Click here to see some photos. While shuffling along the cordoned-off walkway there was a person who kept bumping into me. This unwanted contact culminated in him stepping on the back of my shoe which caused it to come off. So there I was bent down blocking the narrow pathway as I tried to put on my shoe. At that moment I had a choice to make. I could either accept my fellow tourist’s apology, put on my shoe and shuffle along or I could become upset and let this small interaction ruin my day.
Our attitude about the obstacles that we encounter has a profound impact on our lives. Whether it is a major life event or a minor event such as my shoe incident, every interaction is loaded with infinite potential. What you choose to actualize is solely up to you. You either give life to a positive emotion or you leave it on the vine to fade away. Much too often we read about a minor traffic violation that led to disproportionate violence. It is unfathomable to think that something that may have occurred by accident can result in someone possibly losing their life. It is so common in fact that there is a name for this particular type of violence, road rage. I often think of my beloved grandfather. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, he chose to live his remaining days with utmost dignity and grace. The little negativity that was in him vanished overnight. In its place, there blossomed endless love for his family and for his remaining life. His attitude was that of a man at peace with his fate. He was an inspiration to all of his friends and family until the day he passed.
That summer day I accepted my fellow tourist’s apology. I quickly moved out of the way and fixed my shoe. As I stood to the side of the shuffling hoard I was able to pause and be thankful. In my haste to outrun the hot sea of tourists, I had been mindlessly moving along with the wave and not truly taking in the splendor of the palace. Engulfed by the beauty of The Hall of Mirrors, I was able to reflect and realize that by being mindful of my response, I exercised the freedom of choosing my attitude.
I choose to not sweat the small stuff in my life. I live by the example of my grandfather who faced death with such dignity. I realize how I react to any situation is under my control and is my responsibility. You have the power to either have a bad day or a meaningful day. The choice is yours.
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