Self-pity severely distorts our perception of reality.
I was wallowing in the pit of self-pity. That’s right. Mr. Positivity. The guy who wrote an entire 4-week Action Guide on the ins and outs of exercising Positivity was stuck in a negative attitude. Keep in mind, this wasn’t a long time ago. It was only this past January!
Over the previous several months, I have been dealing with moderate health issues. What started as a four-to-six week inconvenience, turned into something larger and more drawn out. As a result, I stopped my exercise regime and began to eat poorly.
I rationalized I could use my health issues as an excuse to do nothing positive for my health except take the medications my doctor prescribed. My weight climbed and my energy level dwindled. This year, my New Year’s resolution was once again to get back in shape. But, I spent the first three weeks of January in a half-hearted routine of barely attending my workout classes.
But something changed in the fourth week of January.
I went to my gym at a different time than normal. On this specific day, I observed two men, who had no use of their lower bodies, work out for ninety minutes without slowing down. I also witnessed a teenage girl, who had lost one arm and both legs, sweat through what looked like a grueling workout. All three of these individuals are part of the Adaptive program at my gym.
Here is a link if you are interested: https://www.apecadaptive.org
My first thought from observing them was, “Anderson, you are so weak!” My second thought was I had fallen into the pit I so often warn others about. Self-pity had severely distorted my perception of reality. I share this so each and every one of us can be on guard. I will be the first to admit how easy it can be to slide into.
Each time I choose to focus on myself and what I think I deserve, I begin to lose perspective on my blessings. You see, Selflessness and Positivity go together. The more we think about ourselves and what we don’t have, the more likely we are to slide into the pit I had come to wallow in.
Looking back, I can see I was so focused on my circumstances that I lost perspective. Watching the Adaptive athletes work to overcome their disabilities was the reality check I needed. They inspired me to get over myself and start doing my best—no matter my circumstances.
Positivity, like all the Habits of Character, is like a muscle. If I don’t exercise it consistently, it will atrophy. When I chose to focus on my circumstances instead of the choices I could make in the midst of those circumstances, I began backsliding. Each time I chose to be negative and focus on what I couldn’t do, it made it easier to make that same choice again.
But there is good news. The other side of the coin is the fact that I have the opportunity to make a new choice every day. Since that day in January, I have been in the gym at least four days a week. I have also averaged over 10,000 steps a day on my Fit Bit. I am doing what I can within my circumstances. I am in control of my choices and my attitude once more.
Dig Deep Questions:
Have you ever slid into a self-pity rut and then navigated out of it? If so, what factors helped you to regain a positive outlook?
Who has inspired you to remain positive by their example? What about their example stands out to you?
It is important to us for you to have an opportunity to exercise Positivity, not only individually, but together as a team. This is why we have created practice cards with scenarios. We invite you to discuss as a team what it means to exercise Positivity via our Coaching Cards.
Download our FREE Postcards here: https://www.becomingaleaderofcharacter.com/tools-resources