Vacation is over. Ugh!!! The dread of returning to work is overwhelming. While I was basking in the sun listening to the calming waves of the Atlantic Ocean, a question rolled into my mind like the waves rolling in the surf. What frustrates me most about my day? Not the beautiful day on the beach but the everyday, monotonous, humdrum journey of life. The question is not unique or complex. With that being said, I found it hard to answer. I complain a lot; about everything. The thought of picking one frustration frustrated me even more. So many ideas; so many scenarios; so many events. Which would be number one on the list?
The answer was simple. My attitude. Yes, my attitude was the cause of my frustration. Gripe, gripe, gripe. Complain, complain, complain. Whine, whine, whine. If I wasn’t me I wouldn’t be able to stand myself. What an enlightening moment! Now what?
Attitudes Can Change
Not a brilliant statement but none the less true. Change is a difficult process. I am stubborn and I often think that I am perfect and everyone else, well, they need to change. Sound familiar to anyone? My negativity was skewing my outlook on my life and my hope for the future. The next thing that I did may sound a little silly. I wrote a letter to myself from an outsider’s perspective. Remember I said that I wouldn’t be able to stand myself if I wasn’t me? That is the manner in which I wrote the letter.
We need to talk. Actually, I need to talk and you need to listen. Your attitude sucks. You are always complaining about everything. Are you ever happy? Do you enjoy nothing? I can’t stand your constant negativity. When I am around you, my mood drastically changes and this negativity rubs off on me. I feel like I need de-
programmed after we spend time together. I know that there is more to you than your bad attitude. There have been times when you have inspired me to do great things. There have been times when we would laugh for hours until our cheeks hurt. I want that person back. Yes, life is hard. Yes, things could always be better. You were put on this Earth to be an inspiration not a Debbie Downer. It’s time to put your big girl panties on; realize that someone somewhere has it worse than you.
Ouch! I didn’t read the letter until later that evening and it really opened my eyes. I posted the letter in my office where I can see it everyday to remind me that my main frustration is me and my attitude. Has it helped? Has it changed anything? Yes it has. I am cognizant of my negativity and with that awareness I can now battle these thoughts and feelings before they get out of hand. Change is hard. Changing yourself is harder.
My challenge to you is this. Ask yourself what frustrates you most about your day. You can only pick one thing. Once you contemplate the question and find your answer, write a letter to that frustration from an outside perspective. Write the letter as if you were confronting a friend that needed your help or guidance. Then, put the letter away and read it later. Keep the letter in a place where you can read it often.
I hope you will give this some serious thought. It may sound cheesy but do it anyway. You may be surprised at what you find. I would also be very interested in reading your comments about the exercise and what you found your one frustration to be.