Searching for an Attitude

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Let’s Be Chickens!

Good thing we eat these things or they’d be running us right out of town.

Chickens aren’t really scared.  They do try to avoid your stepping on them and cluck bloody murder if you try to grab them or their eggs.  But have you ever come up against a pissed-off rooster?  They’s gonna slice you up, buddy.  One wrong move and you are under beaks and feet getting torn to pieces and left for dead in the barnyard.

Think of it: that crazy chicken is coming up against you and you are ten times taller (and in my case weigh a thousand times he does).  Compared to that vicious chicken, you’re a Goliath.  And he’s a Chicken David.  That chicken is in your face.  You’re goin’ down.

I think we should in fact emulate them.  That rooster is doing something absolutely vital for his gang of chicken women by attacking potential threats.  He’s taking action to do something about those threats.  He’s an action hero chicken.

I don’t mean emulating the mean part.  I’m talking about taking action to protect yourself.

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Caring for Yourself is First

It’s easy to be overwhelmed.  And when you don’t have the mechanisms in place to make sure that taking care of yourself is paramount it can lead to lethargy, catastrophe and worse, bad hygiene.

But seriously.  Caring for yourself is a proactive way to show self-love and get yourself ready to love others.  If you can’t or won’t make yourself the center of your life then you’re living for others.  That’s horrible!  Having someone or something other than yourself in your center means that you have no energy for yourself once other’s needs are addressed.

And it takes one to know one.  I’m like that; for example, I had the overwhelming need to place someone on a pedestal in the center of my universe and disregard my feelings.  I wanted to appease the feelings and demands of someone else.  And that was a big fat huge mistake.  Why, any halfway respectable rooster would have run that fool out on a rail long ago; all he would need is the tar since he’s got more than enough feathers and attitude to do the job.

If you take care of yourself — all of yourself, brain, body, spirit — then you have what you need to  be strong.  And it’s good to be strong when you’re dealing with yourself, other people or crazy, mean foxes in your henhouse.

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You Need Some Attitude, Dude

There are so many important steps to remember so that you take good care of yourself.  One of the more important is attitude.  Attitude, as the sign says, is a decision.  You consciously choose the attitude you have.

Don’t think so?  Do you insist that other people, other circumstances make you have the attitude you have?  Well, I don’t think so, and there’s a few reasons why I believe that.

First – did you read yesterday’s post?  Give it a go and then let’s talk about expectations.

Expectations we have of others are a setup, a trap.  Expectations not met make you mad, give you a huge headache and render you unable to think clearly about what is or is not reasonable.  It’s upsetting, and that’s not the attitude we’re going for.  We’re going for balance, remember.  We’re going for a centered way of thinking.

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Willingness.  Willingness to learn, to change.  Willingness is an action.  Willingness is also a stance, an attitude.  It’s hard for me to be willing to take action if I’m uncertain or I am pressed by the weight of sadness, of anxiety, of perceived failure.  I try to be willing to change because if you don’t have willingness, you simply cannot do anything at all.

Willingness has plenty of enemies out there.  Willingness is sabotaged by anger, mistrust, distorted perceptions, outright self-told lies.  Any action that you must take, such as deciding to have a good attitude, can be deferred, delayed, or undone.

Attitude is EVERYTHING.  People in the know state that having a positive attitude — even if you’re only partially positive — makes a big difference in very many ways.  It’s the basis for developing and adopting an even better attitude.

Is that possible all the time?  No.  You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t suffer from occasional bad attitude.  But I’m learning to adopt a better attitude so that I’m taking better care of myself.  All you can do is try it.  A good attitude won’t kill you.

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Stories You Don’t Want to Hear

I’m a big believer in fear.  I believe it’s the worst, most damaging, most unhelpful emotion in the entire panoply of emotions.  It has a purpose: to recognize a danger and get you clear of it one way or another, either by running away or standing still.  Fear would not exist in the human mind if we didn’t have a concept of the self; fear is an evolutionary reaction.  If we did not need it on some level, we would not have it.  It serves a purpose when you’re being hunted by a tiger, but that’s about it.

But fear isn’t good if you’re trying to build self-esteem.  Fear sucks if everything you do — every attitude you cultivate — is tainted by that frightening emotion.  Fear is the thing we must fight all the time, without end.  And of course fear is the primary reason that we allow to sabotage all of our thinking processes; you can’t move forward when you’re afraid.  In fact, you’ll just stand there and hope the hunter will move on and not sink those evil teeth into your heart.  Fear has done its job.

Fear is a liar.  A nasty, hideous, evil liar.

It tells you all kind of things.  You’re not good enough.  You don’t deserve it.  You’ll never find happiness.  You’re a failure.  You’ll never make it.  Everyone hates you because you’re a nuisance.  Worse, you’re bad.

How in the world can you take care of yourself and find a better attitude if you’re cowering in fear?  You can’t.  Fear feeds on your hopes and turns them into imagined failure.  It builds, it self-perpetuates.  It makes sure you are its slave.  And as I’ve said, placing anyone or anything in the center of your universe gives it power over your actions.  Why give fear the upper hand?

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Yes, fear is a liar.  There are many negative emotions we don’t want to have and we work hard to get rid of.  All we can do is keep up the fight.  We can banish fear with reason.  Reason is where we want to be centered.  Reason keeps us on the path toward meaning.

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Finding Meaning When You Can’t See It

We’re all searching for meaning.  But meaning is subjective, open to our own interpretation.  All of us  have a very different definition of exactly what meaning means.

Meaning, for me is finding purpose, finding I’m doing well enough to get by, making sense of the world as best I can and doing what’s right for myself.  For example, I love learning and it’s a thing I cultivate; it makes me feel wonderful to learn more about things that interest me, help me, center me.  It’s part of what makes my life meaningful.

Meaning is sliding scale, marked by differences in intensity.  It’s a matter of turning up your ‘meaning volume’.  It’s not necessarily a yes or no thing.  You have to discover what ‘meaning’ means for you.  It’s your construct.  No one else has the same sense of what is meaningful and what is not.

Searching for meaning is a conundrum because in my experience you find meaning when you’re not looking for it.  You can’t agonize or have anxiety over whether or not your life has meaning — of course it does!  Even though you may not feel that way all the time, you certainly do have meaning.  It’s just that meaning comes to you when you do the things that bring it, not when you spend your time looking for it all over the place.  You can’t find understanding; it finds you.  You can’t find meaning; it finds you.

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The Pearl of Understanding Can Be an Expensive Dinner

It sometimes takes opening a million oysters to find that single perfect pearl.  But the pearls are out there.  And the biggest, most beautiful and lustrous pearl to find is a great attitude: sure, it is true that you opened a million oysters to find that pearl.  But now you have enough oysters for a wonderful oyster stew for the entire town plus some to save and freeze for later.  Good attitude, right?

When you have a great attitude then you find treasure.  A great attitude is an investment because a good attitude brings more good attitude.  Good attitude keeps negativity at a distance.  It makes you feel happy to be here.

It can turn you into the best chicken on the ranch.  Plucky, as it were.

It helps you to think clearly, to be stronger, to feel capable and able, to be willing and open.  And if you think that what I’m saying is crapola, think again: you can’t smile when your attitude sucks.  You can’t be friendly, can’t love.  You can’t accept.  You can’t make sense, you’re easily confused.  You’re irritated and angry, and that’s not taking care of yourself properly.

You have given in.  And that’s defeat.  Chickens don’t know from defeat.  Chickens do not give up.

This wild ride to learn about being bipolar and how to live with it is tough enough without making fear and perceived failure the center of the frickin’ universe.  We can do better than that.  We can have a great attitude and learn to be fearless.

We can be CHICKENS.

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