Winston Churchill once said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
What is your attitude—right now, at this moment—toward your spouse? Your kids? Your job? Your garden? Toward life in general?
Are you feeling…
- Like a victim or a victor?
- Ungrateful or appreciative?
- Bitter or tender?
- Angry or joyful?
- Betrayed or beloved?
- Critical or congratulatory?
- Negative or positive?
- Pessimistic or hopeful?
- Resentful or content?
Where I’m going with all this?
Here it is: I am simply nudging you toward some self-awareness.
Attitude is everything. Really.
Let’s take a look at this together…
And I’ll do it with a gardening theme. (I can’t help it. I’ve written a weekly garden column for over 20 years).
Introducing the attitude check
Okay, you may already have a general sense of the attitudes you are carrying. But maybe in the busy-ness of life, you just needed an excuse to stop, smell the roses, and reflect on your current state of mind. Dr. Gary Chapman, the author of the perpetual bestseller book, The 5 Love Languages, calls this an “attitude check.”
It’s important to become aware of your attitude.
Because — whether you like it or not) — it sets an atmosphere that affects how you perceive others and how others perceive you. And the scary truth says Chapman, is that we’re often unaware of the vibes we are sending out.
Side note: In 2017, I decided to get some counseling. While I wasn’t a collector of self-help books, I picked up a copy of Gary Chapman’s book and liked it. I highly recommend his work.
Meet Barbara. She is one of my favorite gardeners. Not because she grows awesome potatoes, but because she gives so much, with joy and love.
Barbara’s portrait will introduce you to:
3 real-life examples, with a garden theme:
When [horrors!] you come across a forest of weeds infesting your broccoli plants, do you feel like a victim of circumstances? Or a victor because you’re going to POUNCE on those weeds the next chance you get?
2. Flourish or failure?
Or if the rhubarb you transplanted this spring only produced a few stalks, are you pessimistic in that you’ll never be able to grow decent rhubarb? Or hopeful that you’ll learn something from the experience and do better next year?
3. Bitter or tender
When your husband mows the lawn without prompting and he accidentally cuts down your prize petunias, do you feel bitter or tender?
1. Look through the list of descriptors above and apply the questions to other aspects of your life. You might find it helpful to take a screenshot of the list. Or print it out and post it on your fridge.
2. Then, be brutally honest with yourself. If in the process you identified primarily negative characteristics, Chapman suggests that maybe it’s time to “Own the negative vibes you are sending out and make an attitude adjustment.”
Duh. If you send out negative vibes…
Again, be honest with yourself. Do you enjoy being around critical, bitter, angry, pessimistic, resentful people?
Probably not. But, if you are that person, then you’re most likely not sensing positive attitudes from others toward you because it’s hard to be around negative people.
If you send out positive vibes…
On the flip side, if you send out a positive, hopeful, energetic, joyful, appreciative, or victorious attitude, you will probably feel others drawn to you.
Your attitude, for better or worse, says Dr. Chapman, affect all your relationships: With your family, your friends, your garden.
Let’s say you have dozens of houseplants but you resent watering them. Now they looked haggard and neglected. You have three choices. You can:
- Get rid of the plants
- Assign the task of watering to someone else, or
- Change your attitude
On the other hand, if your lawn is neatly kempt, your flowers tended with care, then anyone seeing your garden will sense peace, calmness, and love.
Why not take a moment each day (more often, if necessary) and check your attitude? Make positive adjustments when you find negativity settling in.
“If you do,” Chapman adds, “you may just find that others have a better attitude toward you as well.”
A bonus list for garden geeks…
For those gardeners that are still reading, here is a list of late summer/early fall gardening chores:
- Prepare beds for planting spring bulbs, garlic
- Raise the mower blade so the grass grows longer
- Harvest what you planted in spring. Eat, put it up or give it away
- Add organics to your soil.
“Organics work,” says Anchorage Daily News garden columnist Jeff Lowenfels, “because the soil food web, and ultimately the microbes plants attract to their roots, eat these organics and hold the nutrients in them. When they die, these are released and become available to plants. To understand what happens in the root zone, check out Jeff’s book, “Teaming With Nutrients: The Organic Growers Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrients” which is available on Amazon.
The positive dirt on fall gardening
Believe it or not, there is microbial activity all winter long, says Jeff. “And you will get a bit of a head start on winter by doing the work now.”
Best of all, there isn’t much work either. You don’t have to mix everything into the root zone per se.
“Just lay them down on the surface,” encourages Jeff. “The soil food web does the work and will bring it down to where it is ultimately used by plants.”
Would that be a negative or positive attitude for the end of the growing season?
What do you think? Scroll down and leave me a little note.
Related topics you might enjoy:
• WHEN DID YOU LAST SPEND TIME BEING QUIET? An article I wrote about the value of stillness.
• SEVEN PRAYERS FOR PEACE: In this article, I include 5 posters for you to download.
• 3 PERSONAL STORIES TO PROVE THAT MIRACLES DO HAPPEN: What can I say? These are sweet stories…
Finally, if attitude is everything, how to develop a positive one?
This is a lovely film (10:00) that is based on short stories by Acharya Ratnananda (Pitaji). How to deal with overcoming negative thoughts, jealousy and why it’s important to develop a positive attitude and cultivate positive thinking. Pour a cup of tea. Enjoy and share.
Marion Owen is on a mission to help busy people survive day-to-day life by condensing topics such as photography, cooking, and organic gardening into bite-size pieces. Get Marion’s free 4-page “In Good Light: Photo Tips for Busy People” to feel newly recharged when taking pictures.