The Best or the Worst. The choice is mine?

I attended a workshop Tuesday evening and at the break, I was standing on the porch listening to a rather loud discussion by a couple of the other participants. One woman was saying, “This is the worst workshop that I have ever been to. There is nothing new being presented!” (she had just asked for a refund…which she did receive, and was leaving),  and another woman replied, “I think this is the best workshop that I have ever attended…..”

I have been in plenty of situations where people have had very different reactions to something, but this may have been the most pronounced. Neither of these women were new to the information, but it was clear that the woman who thought it was the best, was open to more than just the information being presented. She was enjoying the entire experience.

The woman who was leaving, looked like someone you might avoid if you met her on the street. Her face was hard and her mouth tight. She looked ready for a fight. She didn’t leave peacefully, with the attitude, “Well, this is just not for me, so I am leaving, but I hope that you enjoy it.” Even on her way out, she was trying to convince others that it was awful too.

She had made up her mind that the evening was a waste, and so that is what it became to her. Even though she had gotten her money back, and  had only spent an hour of her time in the workshop, she was still angry….. suffering because of her attitude, not because of the workshop. It is really easy to see this in someone else…not so much when it is me. Witnessing these two women was a powerful reminder that I alone choose my attitude and that my attitude will ultimately determine how much I enjoy my life.

“You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger.” (quote attributed to the Buddha)

15 thoughts on “The Best or the Worst. The choice is mine?

  1. Great reminder that attitude is 100% yours. I work hard to keep my “attitude” from showing on my face sometimes. I’m so good at saying everything is great but body language and facial expression sometimes say different.

  2. I am lucky enough to live in a lovely Senior complex. its beautiful, well maintained, safe, we have a wonderful office staff, maintainance guys who are the best, and its affordable! Every morning when I meditate I say thank you for this place….
    But I have neighbors who are never happy, always complaining, always mad about something….its really a shame, they are missing on so much happiness….

  3. This quote is so true. It’s sad to think some people go through their entire lives being dissatisfied, unhappy, and always baiting others to start an argument. The older I get, the more I try to avoid that type of person. I love the positive vibes I get when reading this blog and the comments – it helps provide armor against the negative!

  4. Isn’t it interesting when folks with that lady’s attitude self-select OUT of a place filled with kind, open people… Thank you, Mary, for a thought-provoking story and for the marvelous quote about anger.

  5. Whenever I encounter someone like that, I always try to say a little prayer – “Thank you for accepting that role in this lifetime so I don’t have to.” I find it makes it much easier for me to be compassionate and offer them a big smile.

  6. I was once told that I was being taken advantage of because I was spending quite a bit of time helping my son move into his new house. And I thought, hmm, I don’t feel that way at all. You cannot be taken advantage of if you are offering your time and your self freely, and enjoying the time shared more than anything. Again, it’s that other person’s perspective, but we surely don’t have to claim it for ourselves. Pam A., I loved your comment about this blog providing ‘armor against the negative’. And yet unlike what we usually think of as armor, all steely and hard, the armor an open heart carries is a softness that deflects negativity, because love is ultimately the greatest power of all. This blog is a morning infusion of inspiration, every bit as nourishing as that bowl of Wheaties. Mary, our breakfast of champions!

  7. Great post, Mary. Your blog has become part of my on-going adult education. Your writings, along with the responses from fellow readers, offers so much to all. There’s a ton of quiet wisdom out there. Love it and am blessed by it.

  8. What this story reinforces for me is how our expectations AND attitudes are so intertwined; both of which are projections only we can control. Yet another reminder to ‘live in the moment’, uncluttered with the past or future. It’s always a challenge but so much easier the more aware I’ve become with age. I smile when I think how this woman gave everyone there a “free” lesson in avoiding frenetic fallout!

  9. Hi Mary, I love how you were presented with the two opposites, two extremes, in every sense – visual, auditory, spiritual. It sounds as if this scene were choreographed into the workshop for you. Fodder for another great message, must be! Thanks!

  10. I’m back from my son’s wedding and he & his bride are in Paris, France on their honeymoon. They called me today on this iPad thru Tango – and I could see them & the Champs Elysee! Some people say that technology like this is ruining things. No more good old fashioned Post Cards from Paris!! I’ll probably get one of those too – next week. I’ll take both! Gratitude is an attitude worth sharing. Love to all of you. Mary Rita

    P.S. I did dance with my 3 sisters!!! A circle dance. Great fun. And – they all liked my dress & my hair.

    • Yeah for you, Mary Rita!!! Yes, of course technology is ruining things—like having to wait for the photographer’s proofs weeks after the event and not talking to them while they’re enjoying the present moment. I have a daughter in Italy now, for the first time writing a blog, and we are so enjoying seeing the world through her eyes. Yes, we’ve also received postcards, because I insisted on the photos, but the real time contact has been such a wonderful experience. How exciting that we can have the best of both worlds!

  11. Thank you for these thoughts. Right on. I sent the Budda quote to my grand-daughter.Hopefully she will hear the Great message.

  12. Negative people make everyone unhappy, just as they are unhappy.
    I once heard a minister say, ” I would rather have someone with the wrong doctrine and the right spirit, then someone with the right doctrine and the wrong spirit.”
    Attitude is everything .

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