“Do you like living here?”
I was expecting an enthusiastic, “Love it!”
Instead, the blond lady made that disgusted clicking sound with her tongue. “Like it? I hate Panama.”
I had been in Panama three weeks when I met one of our neighbors. Her name is Janet and she’s originally from Hawaii. She raves about Hawaii – the weather, the scenery, everything. “I was an idiot to leave,” she says. “I hate Panama. I hate the weather. It’s so cold!”
After about three minutes after meeting Janet, I was pretty much ready to end the conversation. I was blown away by such a strong dislike of (what I think is a) pretty nice country.
We have another neighbor, Dick. Half blind and half deaf, he’s as always popping around our house to ask if we need our toilet fixed or need more water. When our toilet wasn’t working, he and his wife came over to fix it. (Why his wife too? Because as I said, he is half-blind. She dug around in the toilet while he told her what to do. “I’m the brains and she’s the hands!” He told me.)
Attitude always involves choice
If being in Panama has taught me anything, it’s that you can be a sourpuss no matter how blessed you are, or you can have a sweet and lovely personality no matter your circumstsances.
Do your circumstances matter?
I grew up where the skies were usually cloudy, the weather was frequently rainy, cold, humid, buggy, etc. The weather in Panama is gorgeously beautiful. The sun shines EVERY DAY. Gorgeous rainbows crisscross the sky about once a week. The weather is temperate – I never need a coat and usually don’t overheat either.
BUT you know what?
I’m not happier here. I don’t wake up every day singing. I don’t whistle all the time or hum, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.” (I wish that came naturally.)
Today I went for a jog in the park nearby. As I was running, I started thinking about my attitude. It’s negative. I immediately see what’s wrong. I ponder all the things that aren’t perfect. My “imperfection sensors” are 20/20, while my “blessing sensor” is usually out of order.
Coming to Panama, with all of it’s gorgeously beautiful views, did NOT turn me into a happily grateful person. It’s not going to turn YOU into one either. And neither is a nicer car, a nicer computer, a better job, prettier girlfriend/cuter boyfriend, nicer spouse, better neighborhood, etc.
It’s all about your Attitude, not your Circumstances. You have a choice. You have a CHOICE. I’ll say that again, because I forget this all the time.
We all make the CHOICE of whether to be cheerful or be a sourpuss.
It’s all on you. It’s all on me. I am personally responsible for my moods, my attitudes, my gripes and my gratitude. So are you.