Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Attitude Matters


As I was driving home a few days ago I found myself following a car with a slogan emblazoned across the back window in large, red letters. It said 'Don't Care!'

In today's world, it's easy to understand why people might feel this way. Every day we are bombarded with negativity via the television and newspapers – stories of war and natural disasters; threats of economic collapse and acts of terrorism.

Reports claim that more and more people are suffering from stress related illnesses. With untold numbers of businesses folding like an origami class, the only ones making a killing seem to be the Pharmaceutical companies, through the sales of the medications specifically designed to combat depression and anxiety disorders. So many people are just giving up. What's the point? All I'm doing is beating my head against the wall - making myself more stressed and anxious. Why bother?

But the ‘Don’t Care’ Attitude, rather than making things easier, only contributes to the downhill slide.
In fact it actually helps to smooth the way and make things happen even faster.

I confess that I have never been a fan of those so called 'Self Help' books. The ones with Titles like ‘You Are a Winner’ and ‘You Can Do It’. But in fact the philosophy contained in these books is for real.

Practise Positivity!

Now I know that even those two words can invoke a very adverse reaction. We’ve all met that perpetually sunny soul who breezes into the darkest moment of your life sprouting messages of The Silver Lining in Every Cloud, and how this traumatic event in your life is only going to make you a better person etc etc.

Yet a positive attitude is one of the most basic survival tools.

Last year my husband was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery. For twelve months he had been assured that his symptoms were caused by a hernia pressing on his bowel. The diagnosis was changed to read ‘bowel cancer’ after the bowel actually ruptured.
For fifteen months he wore a Colostomy bag, suffered through 30-weeks of Chemotherapy, weekly blood tests, and seemingly endless visits to Dr’s and Specialists.

He is currently recovering from the surgery to restore normal bowel function. It’s been a long, hard road, fraught with obstacles. His Stoma was prolapsed, which meant that the bags didn’t adhere properly to his skin and there were numerous embarrassing accidents. Because we are self employed, he had to come back to work as soon as possible after the first surgery, and didn’t even have the luxury of hiding away at home. His much anticipated reconstructive surgery was postponed, not once, but three times, and each time hit him a little harder. Yet each time he managed to rise above the disappointment and maintain his optimistic outlook.

Right from the start he stated firmly that he would ‘beat this thing’ (the cancer), and he has.

They have it right, the authors of those Motivational Books. Whatever the question - the answer is to foster a positive attitude. You don't have to be the bubbling, eternal-ray-of-sunshine with a never ending supply of intended-to-be uplifting clich├ęs. You just have to take down the Don't Care slogans and replace them with 'I Can and I Will'.

1 comment:

Jennette Green said...

This is so true! My husband and I have faced a very hard year as well, and attitude definitely does matter. You have to believe that you will get through it, and that things will be better on the other side.

I have short patience with those people who say that you're "learning something" through the experience, and you'll grow through it. While this may be true, it certainly doesn't help the person going through the crisis. People going through a crisis need prayer, empathy and support. Those things help both the giver and the receiver to grow and to overcome obstacles.

I am so glad your husband is doing better! And what a great blog post!