Did you know … when researching the mental health benefits of gratitude you’ll find a long list of selfish reasons for being appreciative.
A give to get way of thinking.
It’s understandable. We all want a profitable return on our investments whether they are time, money, position, or people directed.
Honestly, it’s an unfortunate part of our human condition … the “what’s in it for me” attitude that too often becomes our ulterior motive for doing the right thing.
But Jesus said,
“If you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much!” Luke 6:33
Now, Jesus isn’t just talking about being grateful, although that’s a good place to start. He’s talking about our attitudes in general. Can you imagine what would happen in our communities if everyone treated their neighbors with respect, kindness, and gratitude for heart reasons instead of worrying about “what’s in it for me?”
And it’s not just our relationships with people that suffer . . . a give to get attitude can creep into our relationship with God, too. It’s tempting to show gratitude, obey the rules, and serve others because we want God to shower us with “blessings” in return.
I’ve been thinking about this quote from Coach John Wooden:
You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.
So, now that I’m not the only one squirming in my chair feeling a little convicted…
Join me as I do a soul check on my motives and attitude because well, it just may be time for a few refinements. And while I’m taking a personal assessment, I’m adding some things I believe will help me get my “self” out of the way and making room for spiritual blessings like love, joy, peace, patience, etc.
7 Things You Can Do Now that will Help Your Attitude in the Future
1. Keep a Journal
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a beautiful book-bound journal, a spiral notebook, or an electronic app . . . start asking questions and taking notes.
Ask yourself – What blessed me today? What did I do to bless others? What was my attitude? Where can I improve? What do I need to change?
I’ve found whether it’s gratitude, prayer, or just general thoughts … keeping a journal helps me stay focused on what’s important.
2. Pray and Read the Bible
I don’t want to just make a list of prayers. I want to pray … to stop rushing through names and requests slow down and talk with God. Praise Him. Repent. Then talk with Him about my needs and the needs of others.
And keep digging deep in God’s Word. I need it because I need a constant reminder of verses like:
Pride leads to destruction; a proud attitude brings ruin. Proverbs 16:18
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Philippians 2:5
I don’t know about you, but on my own, my pride gets in the way and a Christ-like attitude is impossible.
Praise God! We are not on our own.
Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Ephesians 4:23
[Tweet “How awesome is it that the One who wants us to have a new attitude is the One who is able to make it happen!”]
3. Be Accountable
I need an accountability partner. Someone close to me who will gently and honestly remind me when my attitude needs an adjustment.
Maybe that never happens to you. I so wish I could say the same.
I need wise counsel and help.
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17
I ask Rev to gently invite me to talk about the things that upset my mind and bother my heart.
4. Be Kind to Yourself
Oh, I need this. I look in the mirror and criticize every flaw and beat myself up for days over every failure. Which is definitely NOT an attitude enhancer!
Why is it easier to be kind to strangers and those we rarely see than it is to be nice to those with whom we live. AND hardest of all to be gentle with ourselves.
Seriously, I would be furious if someone else said many of the things I’m willing to say to myself.
My attitude won’t change until I remember… I am created by God and for Him. Love and redeemed.
And yours won’t either.
“Be kind to yourself. God thinks you’re worth his kindness. And he’s a good judge of character.” ~Max Lucado
5. Do and Say Nice Things
I want my attitude to reflect God’s love and patience. With me. With others. No excuses. No settling. Just love, forgiveness, patience, and kindness.
Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Matthew 22:39
When it comes to love, I’ve learned that sometimes my attitude motivates my actions but other times the actions come first. No matter how I feel, I want to live with love even when I don’t feel like it.
Remembering these truths helps me…
“Every person you meet is someone for whom Christ died.” ~ Andy Stanley
“Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~ John Watson
Loved and hurting people are everywhere and that’s reason enough to do and say nice things. And doing nice things for others will always help your attitude now.
6. Be Quick to Forgive
Life is hard. Forgive quickly and give others the same grace and mercy you’d like to receive.
I’m not suggesting we become doormats. Just that we stop to think about the person behind the offense.
“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” ~ Corrie ten Boom
7. Spend Time with Joy Tank Fillers
Attitudes are contagious. You’ve heard the saying, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
Your attitude will rub off on the people around and well, their’s will affect you.
American entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn said:
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
If you and I want improved attitudes we need to spend time with people who have good attitudes. Simple right?! So, go find yourself some grateful positive people who fill your joy tank so you can have patience with those who don’t
The good news is people who are grateful and positive are happier, healthier, and have better relationships. Woo Hoo!
This is just the beginning.
Many things determine our attitudes … social media, entertainment, books, etc. It’s an input/output thing so be careful and wise about your choices.
I’m talking attitude, not mood.
Moods come and go more quickly but attitudes are formed through beliefs and character.
So, let me ask…
What’s your favorite to-do when you want to help your attitude?
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