Lately I’ve been realizing that the way we view the situations, people, and scenarios that enter into our lives is the true deciding factor between comming out a stronger, happier, better person or a calloused, grouchy, pesimistic person. It doesn’t matter if these sitations, people, or scenarios seem to be positive or negative, for we all know that even the best moments can turn sour because of a negative state-of-mind or attitude.

I accepted this notion into my life last Friday when, simply put, I had a really bad day. Actually, let’s make that the past few weeks. But last Friday it hit me…I could either change my attitude and start enjoying my time here again, or I could sulk in a mental prison which I created myself through pure negativity, selfishness, and arrogance.

I’ve always considered myself an open-minded person who seeks to find the best in even what seems to be the worst situations, people, or scenarios. Yet, recently, somewhere along the way, I had lost sight of that.

What China & Sibling Rivalry have in Common

And so as I lost sight of this I began feeling anger towards everything and everyone around me … blaming the situation rather than myself for being the cause of my negative attitude. Now, I’ve travelled and lived in a few places around the world and while there are always ups and downs, I tend to enjoy both of them to the fullest.

Yet living in China has its own set of challenges. I’ll save that topic for another day though. But let me just say that this place is a rollercoaster … there are constant ups and downs and upside down turn arounds, and some days I love it and some days I absolutely loathe it. I’ve never felt this way about a place in my life before.

China is like your younger brother when you’re a preteen and he’s still just a kid. You love him, but sometimes he just annoys the sh*t out of you! Especially if, say, he spits all over the ground, constantly cuts you in line, and can’t communicate in your language! (Okay I’m not sure if I can ever love China like my younger brother, but you get the idea, right?)

My attitude was ridiculous. Pure negativity. Every word that came out of my mouth was nothing but a complaint. The fact that I could be so self-pittying is an emberassment in itself. I am SO lucky to be here and have been given such a great opportunity to grow as a person, challenge myself in a way most people won’t have the opportunity to at this age, get to know people from all walks of life, and travel throughout the countries halfway around the world from where I grew up.

What I’m Trying to Say

So, what am I trying to say here?

What I’m trying to say is its important to take a step back and see the positive in what may seem like one of the more stressful, frustrating, annoying, bothersome, crappy situations in our lives. I’m not trying to belittle anyone’s hardships or misfortunes, but I am trying to give you a few words of encouragement to hold your chin a little higher and realize that only you can make a situation worse or better for yourself.

For me personally, it doesn’t matter how much I complain or call people motherfu$&ers in english knowing they can’t understand me when they cut me in line at the Subway. (That was a low point for me!) Getting upset isn’t going to do anything but make me feel even more mad…not to mention leave me with a distressed, unhappy, and obviously unsexy look on my face for the rest of the day.

With all that said, next time you’re stressed or upset or feel like you are going to scream/slap the next person that pisses you off … just relax. Change your attitude.

You can change it breifly for the moment by doing something that makes you happy, but the real remedy is to change your overall attitude and state-of-mind. Find a new way to look at the situation. Set up goals or benchmarks that will show you that you aren’t just getting through it, but you’re becoming a better person because of it.

Because, well, as we all know, life can be a bitch. And when life hands you lemons you should make lemonade. Life is just too short and sweet to be unhappy and mad at the world… we might as well enjoy it.

And finally, negativity is contagious … and so is being positive … which one do you want to spread?

(Written 5/31/2010 – Beijing, China)

Have you ever let a negative attitude get the best of you? How did you snap out of it? What did you learn from it?

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About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives.

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