It’s 2004 and I’m walking around the club telling all the haters that I’m a “headbussa”. Lil’ Scrappy is blaring in the background as my anthem while I belligerently spill my Hurricane all over my heels. If there was a textbook class on bad attitude, this would hail as Exhibit A. Back then I thought it was cool to be crass and “hard”. Having a bad attitude was my approach. What I didn’t comprehend was the world was about to eat me alive because of this poor choice of character. I was 21 years old. Sometimes it is a hard lesson to learn, but the universe will find a way to humble you.
Fast forward to 2017. I just had a birthday last week (shout out to all the Pisces), and began reflecting on attitude. I was once told that “your attitude will determine your altitude” and this stuck with me. In my career, attitude has been everything and a driving force to my success. Being a positive go-getter and team player has helped me grow in so many ways. Transitioning those attributes to my personal life was not as easy. Working in Human Resources, I am paid to be professional while helping others. In my personal life, I didn’t hold myself accountable for keeping it professional at all. In my early 20s, I was defensive and not as open-minded. I looked to blame others for my own transgressions. In essence, I was really blocking my own blessings. I was standing in my own way by constantly stepping into the ring with myself. The battle was with me, not so much everyone else. I have always had a great work ethic, but my attitude was ruining relationships and burning bridges I had worked hard to build piece by piece.
It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude. – Zig Ziglar
As a young woman, I also had a habit of seeking validation from others. I constantly questioned if I was good enough. There was a silent lack of confidence and what I thought of myself began to trickle down to what others thought of me. By not truly respecting myself, I gave the green light for others to follow suit. When you are living in a quiet storm of internal chaos, it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It was not until I had to put the mirror in front of myself to see that ugly interior for what it was. I had to change my own perspective and it was the biggest challenge. My main focus shifted to learning about myself and confronting my mistakes. Once I did that, I was able to break them down and guide myself in the direction of determining the root cause. Why was I so angry? Why did I blame everyone else? The answer had to come from within. Instead of putting so much energy into other people’s actions, I should have been concentrating on my own. To fully understand that you must be intentional in your actions and words.
Growing up, we label each other. Similar to saying “oh she is the smart one” or “she is the angry one”. You do not have to LIVE in those labels. These can be placed upon us and pre-conditioned from as early as childhood. I didn’t want to be known as the angry girl all the time. We have the power within ourselves to change these misconceptions, and no one will do it for us. We have the building blocks to restructure our foundations. That is the beauty of growth and resilience.
Accepting my flaws began to erode that hardened exterior. Planting positive words everywhere began to blossom more love and understanding. I’ve heard that a lack of forgiveness holds you hostage. While seemingly great at forgiving others, I failed to give myself the same courtesy. Searching through my soul for answers was a complex web of emotions. It took time, but letting go of mistakes and learning from them propelled me into a better perspective. I begin to feel liberated. We are all human, therefore we can be mad or sad at any given time. However, you don’t have to live in that mind space. There are many times, I revert back to that “adolescent closet of bad attitude” as my former therapist would have said. I continue to hold on to the positive vibes regardless. Attitude will get you places, and the sky is not the limit – only the view.