Ladylikeness 7: the mother of all attitudes


"Ladies have the strength to choose their attitude.

I have a very good reason to be in a very bad mood.

Have you ever had one of those weeks?

I mean a week where the toilet backs up. And the electric goes out. A week where the garbage disposal breaks. And the kitchen water supply is shut off. A week where leaks are found, cabinets emptied, and fans are placed. A week of a chest cold that robs you of sleep and acerbates a chronic injury. A week where, in all the chaos, you flood the utility room because you forgot to turn off the faucet while tending to another emergency. 

That kind of a week. 

The kind of week my mother has had.  

In the middle of yet another disaster this week, with her dinner getting cold, her exhaustion peaked, and water pooling at her feet, she smiled at me. "Well, the utility room did need mopping." 

And that's Mom in a nutshell: superwoman. 

What she learned, and has demonstrated throughout my entire life, is the strength a lady possesses to choose her attitude and not allow circumstances to choose for her. Ladies know they are not emotional slaves to their situations. They have authority over how they respond to life's ups and downs, which is an authority no one can take away...unless they let them.  

In all the ample talk of female empowerment, this is it. This is the real deal.

How To Put This Truth Into Action

If you don't naturally approach ugly situations with a positive outlook, congratulations. You're human. 

Our natural tendency will always be to respond to bad days and bad situations with bad moods. That's all of us. That's normal. But it's not mandatory. 

We can start taking command of our attitude when we accept that we have the strength to choose. 

As long as you tell yourself you can't control your emotions, your attitude, or your tongue, you won't. But it's a lie. You can. So can I.

Here are two ways my Mom has found the strength to control her attitude:

In a bad situation, she instantly finds the good.

It's a stubborn thing with her. Even when you don't want her to look at the positive, or give hope, she's going to do it anyway. Growing up, while sulking about one disappointment or another, I've even told her, "Don't try and spin this into something positive. I don't want to hear it!" 
She did it anyway. Whether I wanted it to or not, it sank in. Because hope does that. It's a weighty, sticky thing with wings. 

When facing a dreaded chore, she seeks simple delights (aka Lesson 2). 

This is why you'll often hear her singing as she cleans the bathroom or chatting with the dog while she pulls weeds from her garden. She's incorporating small pleasures and simple delights into mundane tasks. 
By making this a daily mental habit, she's become incredibly skilled at finding those veiled delights during moments and seasons of great pain and sadness, too. 

Ultimately, taking control of our attitude may come down to asking ourselves one question: who, in this life, do we want to be? 

We can be that person who lives overwhelmed and defeated by our circumstances, mumbling and grumbling, complaining and griping and brooding. Or we can strut in and show those circumstances who's boss. 

One of those options is a lot more fun than the other. 

Tara Lynn Thompson