This post was originally published around August 2014. Since Steven is my featured writer this week, I thought I’d repost it so more people get the opportunity to learn about and from Steven Webb. He is an author, podcaster, and a spiritual teacher. And even though we have never met, I consider him a friend.
I May Be Paralysed, but My Attitude Is a Choice
I’m 23 years into a life sentence – or so some would think. Well for me it’s not true. Okay, so I’m paralysed from just below my shoulders, my arms only sort of work and my hands are stuffed, and that’s only a fraction of the problems that come with my condition. There are many aspects of my life that I have to surrender to other people because I rely on them for my direct health care and many other daily tasks.
But despite that, nobody but me has any control over the way I think. In my position, I find it immensely important that I never let anybody else unduly influence my thoughts and my outlook, certainly not without my permission.
During 12 month stays in the hospital you have plenty of time for some serious thinking. It is amazing how extensively you learn to control how you think when you’re bedridden. And when you have a clear mind and come to realise there is always a choice open to you, you gain a freedom far greater than any physical limitation or disability.
We may not always like the choices available to us, but they are still there.
Sometimes we need to look at things a little differently. There is a gift in everything, you just need to find it. Take me for example, I don’t have to wash any dishes, take out the rubbish, or put my hand down a blocked drain to try and fix it. I choose to appreciate the gift, to look on the bright side of life.
I never had a “Eureka!” moment when I decided that I would think positively from then on. On the contrary, positivity is a constant choice I make; from the moment I wake up, to the last thought I have before I drift off to sleep.
Of course, the more I chose to think positive, the easier it became to maintain. But this applies in both directions. When we get used to thinking negatively, we get stuck in that cycle. But it is actually no harder to think positive than it is to have negative thoughts, both require the same amount of effort, it’s just only one has any worthwhile reward.
You see, while many people in a similar position to me think they have a good reason to be gloomy, and everyone in the world has their own problems that might entitle them to think or feel badly about things, that kind of thinking just does not make you feel good. I’ve never known a good negative feeling or a bad positive feeling.
Take my lead and, for every situation, find the positive outlook or positive choice. It’s there; you just need to know how to look, and to persevere until you find it.
Attitude is a combination of thoughts, feelings, and actions. If you get all three right and in balance, most of the time you will have success in what you do, but if you get them wrong then you might just achieve a whole lot of nothing.
I have a great attitude, and I reflect on the good examples of as many other people as possible. I have a lot of appreciation for other people, which I guess comes in handy when you have to rely on others for as much as I do.
That’s why I say to people: I may be paralyzed, but my attitude is a choice.
Until next time,