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Nothing destroys happiness faster than a bad attitude. A person with a bad attitude can find the gray cloud to every silver lining and a problem for every solution.
It’s a real problem for the person with a bad attitude because bitterness and cynicism become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
For example, Jack is angry at the world and feels like no one cares about him because people keep leaving him. But what Jack doesn’t realize is that his perpetual anger and negativity form a wall that keeps positive, optimistic people away. Emotionally and mentally healthy people don’t want to hang around people like Jack for an extended period because it is emotionally draining. Thus, Jack ends up driving away the kind of people he really needs to be around.
But Jack needs help! Shouldn’t someone help him? Certainly, assuming Jack wants to be helped, assuming Jack will accept help and put in the work to change that perspective. But until Jack wants to help himself, there’s really nothing that anyone else can do for him. Jack has to fix his own bad attitude.
But how do you know if you have a bad attitude? Well, here are some common signs.
1. You have unreasonable expectations.
Unreasonable expectations are often a sign of entitlement. People with unreasonable expectations may not empathize with the struggles or problems of other people. They are often demanding and expect that others cater to their desires. People with unreasonable expectations may find it difficult to compromise with others unless the deal is in their favor.
They often act as though they are above the rules and may expect other people to bend the rules just for them.
There is no place where this is more true than working in customer service. It’s the person yelling at the employee of the company to try to get their way. It’s the person demanding to use a coupon that expired six months ago. It’s the person demanding to talk to a manager because they were asked to wait in line like everyone else.
2. You see everyone else as an enemy or competition.
The world is dangerous, and everyone is out to harm you in some way. Or so you believe.
They want to take advantage of you, take what you have, and work against you. It’s never an accident or just a coincidence when someone does something to slight you or harm you. You are certain that they purposefully set out to harm you, regardless of the circumstances.
You are in constant competition with the rest of the world. You simply need to be the best and have the best. Second place is unacceptable. All it means is that you’re the first loser.
3. You tend to see the world in black and white.
Right and wrong. Us and them. There are few shades of gray in your world, and you have a hard time imagining that things can be far more complex than they seem.
It’s difficult for you to accept that good people might do bad things and bad people might do good things. In fact, you feel a need to ensure that people fit into that comfortable narrative of good and bad instead of looking at the whole picture.
You have a hard time when things aren’t clear or distinct. The lack of clarity may make you feel angry, fearful, or upset.
4. You demand respect without giving any.
Many people don’t realize that there are two distinct variations of respect. The first is to hold another person in high esteem. We typically reserve this kind of respect for people we admire or who have otherwise earned our respect. The second definition is to act in a way that doesn’t impede the way other people live.
Both definitions can be tricky for people.
Some people demand the first kind of respect when they’ve done absolutely nothing to warrant it. Unfortunately, just existing is not enough to earn respect. And even if you do something to earn respect in that way, it doesn’t mean that everyone will know or even care.
The second kind of respect is more nuanced. It is reasonable to demand to be treated fairly and equitably in line with how others are treated. But usually, you won’t get respect that way either. A far easier way to get that kind of respect is to give it.
5. You’re always in a negative mood.
A bad attitude goes hand-in-hand with being in a negative mood. There’s always bitterness, anger, or cynicism to fall back on even the sunniest of days.
Most people who are in a chronically negative mood aren’t there because they want to be. They may have other problems that are weighing them down or unresolved trauma. They may be wrestling with things that happened to them years ago.
6. You take pride in being unlikeable.
Why should anyone like you? You’re an asshole, and you’re proud of it!
People who are proud of being unlikeable are often covering up their own insecurities. You see, you can’t be rejected for who and what you are if you pre-reject everyone else ahead of time. No one expects anything good from you because you’re always broadcasting that you’re not good. Instead, people grow to expect negative things from you because that’s who you’ve determined yourself to be.
It may also be the result of trauma. For example, a parent who tells their child they are worthless, unlovable, and unlikeable will carry those beliefs into adulthood. In that regard, it becomes a self-fulfilling cycle where the person doesn’t have the self-worth to realize they are valuable, projects that onto others through their hostility, and then ends up alone because no one wants to deal with it.
7. You believe you are better than others.
Do you think you’re somehow above other people? That you know better?
The mistake that arrogant people tend to make is that they do not judge other people by their whole. Everyone is a mix of good and bad things, hopefully, more good than bad, but not always.
For example, you may have a great pianist who believes they are better than others because they have devoted 30 years of their life to being a great pianist.
And you know what? They may be a fantastic pianist. One of the best around. But maybe all of that practice and dedication to their craft left them stunted in other areas. Maybe they don’t take care of themselves well. Maybe they’re insufferable and lack social skills because people have been telling them how amazing they are for decades.
Maybe they aren’t that amazing. Maybe they’ve just been told that because other people saw dollar signs and wanted to get in on any money that might come in.
8. You always see yourself as the victim.
A person who is a perpetual victim is a drain to be around. Anything that anyone ever does that doesn’t go according to their wishes is somehow working against them. The perpetual victim takes other peoples’ problems and tragedies and makes it all about themselves.
For example, let’s say Maria is coached at work for not doing her job well. Instead of just saying, “Alright, I’m not meeting expectations. How can I change that?”, she is absolutely certain that her manager is out to get here and being purposefully mean to her to try to get her to quit. The manager is just jealous that Maria does so well at her job that he feels like she will take his job. And oh, her coworkers are totally in on it. They are the ones that ratted her out, after all! Made up all kinds of lies about her so she would get in trouble.
The perpetual victim rarely takes responsibility for anything, including their own actions.
9. You can’t be happy for the success of others.
Does the success of others make you feel angry or envious? After all, why do they deserve to have that kind of success that you don’t have? Are they somehow better? Maybe they just got luckier when it was you that really deserved the success.
An inability to be happy for the success of other people is draining and fuels repetitive negative thoughts. Other people will regularly succeed. And, assuming nothing shady went on, their success should not negatively affect your life in any way.
There’s no reason not to be happy for another person’s success unless you’re just wanting a reason to bring someone else down. Or even worse, use it as a reason to tear yourself down.
10. You cannot apologize.
To apologize to another person is to acknowledge that your actions were harmful to them. Unfortunately, some people just cannot do that because they can’t take responsibility for their actions.
There are so many reasons why a person may do this. It may be a result of social dysfunction in their family. It could be because they are entitled and just don’t care. They may feel that apologizing shows weakness, and they absolutely cannot show weakness to anyone ever. Finally, they may not be secure enough in themselves to acknowledge that they are capable of doing something wrong.
Whatever the reason, the person just never apologizes or gives half-assed apologies like “I’m sorry your feelings were hurt,” instead of owning up to their bad behavior.
11. You can’t deal with other opinions or an unwanted truth.
Some people only want to be told the things that are comforting and okay with them. They want to be assured that their perception is correct and other people are wrong for thinking otherwise. And they react badly, usually with anger or tears as manipulation, when you actually tell them the truth.
For example, John is upset that his girlfriend broke up with him because he flirted with another woman. He insists it’s not that big of a deal. John goes to his friend to complain about about being dumped and insists it wasn’t his fault and that flirting isn’t a big deal. John’s friend tells him he’s full of it and knows damned well that flirting with someone outside of the relationship is a big deal. His friend points out that John would blow his stack if his girlfriend was flirting with another man, so why is he so surprised that she dumped him for it? Instead of accepting this with grace or at least considering it, John responds with anger that his friend is taking his ex-girlfriend’s side, saying he probably just wants to sleep with her.
12. Your friends and family have commented on your bad attitude.
This one doesn’t really require any explanation or examination. Your friends and family have just straight up told you that you have a bad attitude, and you can see that they might be right.
Fixing a bad attitude…
So, you have a bad attitude. You understand you have a bad attitude, and now you want to fix it.
How do you do that?
You’re going to need a therapist or counselor. The first thing you want to do is get to the root of your bad attitude. Why do you have these negative qualities in the first place? What can be done to heal those wounds or resolve those traumas that are affecting your behavior today? That is the key to unlocking the whole puzzle.
There are many pieces of advice out there about fixing a bad attitude, but most of them are just a bandage over a deep wound. Yes, you can try things like thinking positively or finding empathy, but if you don’t resolve the trauma or mental illness causing them, you’ll eventually fall back into those old patterns because they aren’t actually fixed.
You’ll have a much greater chance of success by choosing to pull yourself apart, look at the pieces, and put them back together. You’re not going to be able to just teach yourself self-love if your parents told you were an unwanted piece of sh*t all your life.
Talk to a professional. They are specifically trained to help you heal these wounds, overcome them, and become a better person than you were.
Click here to connect with a professional in your area or one who can work with you via phone or video call.
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- How To Stop Complaining All The Time: 7 No Bullsh*t Tips!
- How To Change Your Outlook On Life: 7 No Bullsh*t Tips!