Thursday, January 28, 2010

Make it a red coat day

Would you say that you are an optimist or a pessimist if someone posed that question to you? Well, I'm going to go ahead and be difficult (of course) and say I would consider myself a "realist". The reason for that is I'm not overly optimistic or overly pessimistic....I feel like I kind of run a fine line between the 2 and look at every situation in a realistic sort of way.

For example.....
Situation: Toby runs in the house with mud all over his feet and destroys the carpet (true story)

Optimistic view: That's ok, that's why carpet cleaners exist! No need to get mad, we'll just shampoo the carpet and fix the situation. Toby didn't mean to! (Proceed to clean the carpet with a shampooer)

Pessimistic view: That freaking dog. He never behaves himself and always ruins our house. What the heck is his problem. (Then I angrily make Jimmy clean the carpet)

Realistic view: That sucks. However, we did just buy a carpet shampooer so we can probably use this. While I'm really mad right now, probably not worth blowing up about. I will yell and get mad, but just for a second or two. This is probably good that we have dogs that make messes in our house because this is like a prep course for kids....except dogs are way easier and you can lock up in a kennel when they are bad.........

Get it? Which one are you?

Well---now that we've determined that, I'm here to tell you that I haven't always been the "realist" I claim to be. Before I met Jimmy, I would say I was more on the pessimistic side and took the negative vantage point on most situations- good or bad. Lucky for me, opposites attract I guess. In the beginning of our relationship (and sometimes even now), I really hated how he always took the glass half full side of things. Like ALWAYS and about everything. Who does that? Well, after hanging around him for awhile, I started to realize that if you look at the situation in a more positive light, it actually makes your life much more enjoyable and really cuts down on time spent being mad/stressed/annoyed, etc. Which is how I shifted towards what I deemed the realist view and demonstrated in the example above.

So I guess now to the overall point of this do you try keep up with a more optimistic POV (point of view) and not digress back to the pessimistic POV? It's hard because it's not something you walk around thinking about 24/7...I mean if you do, good for you....but I find I would have to seriously train myself in every situation to stop and think "wait, how do I want to react to this and how will that make me feel after?". To me, some situations...I just like to react instantly too, plus I feel like that would be a LOT of time spent thinking about that and I'm all about efficiency people, so I can't do that. But I have found myself trying to do it randomly and I find some of the little things really do work and it's all about attitude and perspective. I really think it starts at the beginning of the day too.

I feel like you can set the "tone" of your day from the very beginning. Yesterday, I was leaving for work and went into the coat closet to put on my normal gray peacoat and black scarf. For some reason, I thought to myself "why don't you change it up today? Wear your red coat....make it a red coat day". And I did. I haven't worn that coat all winter for some reason but I thought, why might spice up the day a little. And what do you know, I reach into the pocket almost immediately after I put it on and found an old Northwest Airlines Boarding pass from March 2008 when I traveled 24/7 and worked for Deloitte (yes, I haven't worn that coat in THAT long). And what did that do? That made me remember how much I used to travel and be away from home and hate my job and working all the time....and how thankful I am now for our house, for Jimmy, for extra time with friends, family, dogs and volunteer stuff. I was in a great mood. Driving to work very happy and thankful for where I am. Now how strange is that? With one small decision- to wear the red coat and make it a "red coat day"---something so small happened that altered my perception on the day. And that was it, I was determined to have a good day and enjoy work and enjoy my life just a little bit more. And I did. It's amazing how that led to me finding that boarding pass and being so thankful for what I have.

What I'm saying is....however bad your day might be, you are the one that is in control to make it better. It's your attitude, you mindset, and your outlook that really control whether you have a good day or bad. While the events during the day obviously have an impact, you choose how to react to them and which vantage point to view them as. Think about it, make the small effort, do one thing different that might change your day....and you never know, it just might make you smile :)

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