How do you want to live your life?

Disposition over circumstance

on October 31, 2012

“I am still determined to be cheerful and to be happy in whatever situation I may be, for I have also learnt from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not upon our circumstances.” – Martha Washington

I chanced upon this quote awhile ago and decided to share it today. This is another way of helping some of you who find the half empty or half full analogy too cliché. The aim of such quotes is to try to help people reap the same benefit by providing yet another perspective. I find this quote particularly close to heart because I get what the writer is trying to say; I have learnt that many times we do not put ourselves in bad situations. Somehow it just happens, and there we are….. At that point, it is how we choose to handle what we are given that makes the difference.

Have you ever had the experience of falling over in public or spilling a drink all over yourself? Then what do you do? Some choose to blush and wish that the earth would just swallow them up, others might curse and swear to divert attention, and there are those who would just find it absolutely hilarious and laugh about it! Given the same situation; different people react differently. It is also the way you react that determines how others respond to you. If you laugh it off, people will also see the lighter side and laugh it off with you. But if you choose to remain embarassed and upset; then everyone will be solemn and focus on your misfortune.

I am sure that you must have experienced the abovementioned situations before. Sometimes, you laugh; sometimes you can almost die from the embarrassment. But if you have not expeienced any of these before, I recommend that you try it. The next time something that could be potentially embarrassing happens to you; either choose to laugh or sulk. Then observe the people around you.

The next step is to observe how you feel after your reaction. Isn’t it almost always the case that when you laugh about something, it doesn’t seem all that bad? And if you are unable to recover from the embarrassment; all you can think about was how horrible the whole incident was. I am trying to point out to you that the choices we make with regards to our perspectives can affect us in the long run.

The way we choose our perspectives depend largely on our disposition. Whether we are happy-go-lucky or slightly more serious. Like many other traits we have, the ability to see different perspectives can be learnt and practised. There is going to be some resistence at the beginning and then before you know it; you are already doing it. In case you are wondering whether this post reads familiar; it might because one of my aims is to help you choose happiness over misery regardless of your current circumstance.


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