We tend to let the happenings of our day dictate the mood we are in by the end of it. If something great happens, we’re having an awesome day! If a few unideal things happen, we’re having a bad day and we just want it to be over with already. It’s an easy trap to fall into. We tend to forget that our attitudes are entirely up to us to decide. Every moment of every day we are choosing the way we see our world.
It’s a tough pill to swallow because this means that we’re responsible for the negativity in our lives too. You can not choose what happens to you, but how you respond is 100% up to you. This doesn’t mean that you should act like Miss Suzy Sunshine 24/7, because that wouldn’t be authentic. This means that you need to face your situation, feel all the feels about it, and then choose the positive.
When I was 21 I underwent surgery to have two vertebrae in my spine fused. I had grown up riding horses and that paired with weak and degenerating discs between my vertebrae equaled years of pain and a less than ideal range of motion. The surgery was successful and I was able to be semi-pain free for the next 9 years.
This past year, I had been having an inordinate amount of pain in my lower back and went to see the orthopedic doctor. I learned that even more discs are degenerating above my fusion. Fusing the spine again is an option but that tends to lead to more degeneration in the unfused discs above it.
I took my time with the news and I allowed myself to be upset for a while. I felt frustrated and fragile. I am a badass! I am not some fragile flower! I had to take a step back and take a good hard assessment of my life. I have ouchy days and I have good days, but I can walk. I could choose to be limited by the pain and the news of my back getting worse. I could choose to stop working out because I can no longer perform squats or deadlifts without substantial risk. I could choose to sit around and feel sorry for myself.
Or I could choose to get up and celebrate life.
I workout because I am grateful that I still physically can.
It’s all in the attitude you choose when confronted by difficulties. You can choose to be defined by the negative happenings in your life or you can choose to be defined by the great.
I don’t want any more surgeries, so I’ve been working hard to strengthen my core and have been strictly monitoring my workouts and general life habits. There are many pain management options from injections to dry needling and beyond. I have plenty of choices in front of me. I can manage this setback, I can rise above.
So put this message into action: the next time you’re faced with a negative event, before your hardwired brain sends your attitude into a downward spiral, take a step back. Allow yourself to react and feel frustrated, angry, hurt, scared, sad, upset, and then find the positivity. If the only positive thing you can find is that you’re alive and breathing, let that be enough. There are many who are denied that luxury.
Just like it takes time to create a new habit, it takes time to rewire your brain to seeing positives instead of negatives. There is so much to be grateful for.
Let me know: when was the last time you felt down and forced yourself to turn it around? How did doing that make you feel? What are some areas of your life you feel you can improve on?