I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said this to my kids. It’s something that applies to many situations that leave them feeling frustrated and upset. Whether it’s a sport they are playing, a chore they are avoiding, or just a bad day, it’s something we talk about a lot. It’s okay to feel how you feel, but you still get to make a decision about your attitude once you’ve felt your feelings. Even if you’re not great at something, if you put a lot of effort into it, you’re doing the best you can. If you have a good attitude while you do it, even better.
I say this to my kids a lot, but sometimes I have to remind myself about this little piece of wisdom. As adults, I think we sometimes forget to listen to our own advice. Though my kids and I may have different things going on in our lives, and this saying may apply to me differently, it’s still something to keep in mind.
I can’t control others. I can’t control a lot of situations. However, I can control my attitude when it comes to other people or other situations. Sometimes it’s hard to understand why you can’t talk some sense into people — whether that be family members, spouses, friends, or even strangers on the internet. I can’t control them, but I can control me. I can control my attitude towards them and what they have to say. I can choose not to respond, to move along with my day, and to wish good things for them. I can’t control a lot of things that happen, but I can control my attitude about it.
That doesn’t mean I can’t feel frustrated, upset, or sad, it just means I can choose to move on from it after I’ve felt those things. The narrative you build around certain situations will have a lot to do with how you view that situation in the future. For example, I really wanted to try snowshoeing. I tried it, and it was really hard. I fell… a lot. We all did! But, we just laughed. We could have felt defeated and upset, but choosing to laugh created a memory that I still look back on fondly.
You can’t always control the outcome of a situation, or how good you are at something. For some of us, no matter how hard we practice, we still aren’t the best at it. However, even though you can’t control the outcome, you can control your effort. I’m not the smartest, or the prettiest, or the fastest, or the funniest person in any room, but I always try really hard at everything that I do. I have an ability to connect to others, and I wholeheartedly believe that that’s my superpower. It’s not my natural abilities that got me where I am, it’s my effort.
Not only that, but trying hard — whether you fail or not — is what matters in any situation. Trying something, failing, and getting back up is what creates the grit and tenacity to be successful. The story isn’t that you tried and failed, the story is that you knew this would be hard, and you did it anyway. Effort matters, no matter the outcome.
I try to give my kids a lot of wisdom and lessons when they encounter something hard. I try to use those moments as teaching opportunities to help them become strong, happy, and successful people. However, I need to remember to practice what I preach sometimes.
Remember, all we can control is our attitude and our effort.
What are some lessons you teach your kids that you need to remember for yourself?