About a week ago, I received a great gift.  A relative shifted his attitude toward me, and built and cemented our friendship.

We are related through marriage and have known each other for almost a decade, but we have never really clicked.  He seemed just so different from me, and we had difficulty connecting with each other.  It might not be a stretch to say that we didn’t really like each other a whole lot.  Last week, he shifted his attitude toward me and really opened up to me; we are truly family now.  And all it took was for him to make a conscious mental shift, for him to decide we are good, and to take the small risk of trying to reframe our relationship.

In addition to the gift of his friendship and support (he is an amazing person), he gave me the gift of the lesson underneath it all.  He taught me that by shifting my attitude, I have the power to change my relationships with other people.  To some extent it takes two, but even if the other person is unwilling to change, I can still shift my half of the relationship.  I suspect that most of the time, it will work fully; that the other person will be receptive to the shift and embrace the change.

In teacher training, we learn “Attitude, Action, Alignment”; that an asana practice must start with the right attitude.  Like most of what we learn on the mat, learning to skillfully adjust our own attitudes extends to and pays dividends in real life.

I hope I can always remember the gift my family member has given me: that truly, attitude is everything, and I have the power to change my relationships just by shifting my attitude toward those around me.

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