Saturday, February 21, 2009

Inspiration for a Positive Attitude

Keeping a positive attitude isn't easy. So many things can happen in our lives that bring about negative feelings, and even though we fight off those feelings, they can return at any time. We may feel sorry for ourselves, or we find ourselves getting discouraged. Sometimes a positive attitude needs a little nudge.

Sometimes that nudge can come from being inspired by people who are going through the same troubles we are or who have overcome other adversities. Even people we don't even know can inspire us with their positive attitude.

Recently, three people, one of whom I did not even see, have been an inspiration to me.

I saw a story on the news about an elderly man who lost his life savings in the highly publicized Madoff scandal. This man was given a job at his local grocery, where he serves as a customer greeter. In these tough economic times, this man, who retired years ago, is back in the workforce, the victim of greed, theft and dishonesty.

Still, his positive attitude was apparent. He smiled and said he's got a job to do, summing up his new circumstances. He seemed to enjoy what he's doing, and his boss even called him an inspiration to people going through tough times due to the current economy.

It's hard to imagine losing everything you've worked for your whole life. I was really inspired by someone going through that at his age doing what he's got to do to make ends meet. It certainly reinforced my desire to get back to work!

On VH1's show Sober House (I watch a lot of VH1), Rodney King, the reluctantly famous victim of a beating by LA police back in 1991, paid a visit to the scene of the incident. He said he forgives the police officers who beat him, and pointed out that it takes more energy to be angry than to forgive. He said he feels lucky to be alive these days. It was such a positive way to look at having to deal with what he went through.

I remember seeing Rodney King on the news after the LA riots broke out. He was an inspiration even then asking, "Can we just get along?" Hearing him speak about that time in his life now, I found it inspiring that he has moved on and has no ill feelings about what happened.

At my most recent MS treatment, I spoke with a woman whose daughter has progressive MS. Her daughter is my age and lives in a nursing home. Her mother described her as being strong-willed. She said her daughter handles all her own affairs and is very active in her own care and treatment. She told me about how her daughter had joked about her condition during one of their recent visits.

The woman said her daughter had been through a lot in her life before MS, and that the MS hit her very suddenly and progressed pretty fast. But the daughter sounds like a fighter, and I can't help but think if someone in her situation can have that good of an attitude, there's no reason I can't.

Stories like the ones about these three people, in however small a way, really do help me to keep my own positive attitude going. I also personally know people who've dealt with adversity, and their strength always inspires me as well.

Knowing or hearing about people who've beat the odds, or are dealing with a bad situation the best way they know how gives us hope. Their inspiring stories can help us to put things in perspective and maintain a positive attitude when we experience difficulties in our own lives.

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