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We’ve all had bad days we’d rather forget, but some people seem to get through them better than others. Life is what we make it, and our attitude can make it a bitter struggle or an epic adventure. Some people admit to being a pessimist, which makes everything seem like an uphill climb. Deliberately choosing to see the silver lining in every cloud lines up with God’s optimistic Word and empowers us to soar high above what brings others down.
Our mindset also gives us the power to strengthen or hurt our relationships with others. We can either draw people to us because we’re pleasant to be around, or drive them away because no one wants to be around a grouch. Our thoughts can have physical manifestations: they can make us look like we just sucked on a lemon or put a smile on our faces. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). It can be easy to dwell on the negative, but deciding to change things up by meditating on the positive is a bit more challenging.
Jesus had the perfect attitude, and we can use Him as our example when we’re tempted to snarl at someone else. He humbly put others first and refused to be self-centered or conceited. “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5, NIV). This is virtually impossible to do on our own, but He’ll guide us in this area when we meditate on what we read about Him in the Scriptures and prayerfully ask Him for help.
The physical effects of the thoughts we harbor go even deeper than a smile or a frown—they can actually affect our health. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). There’s a definite link between the mind and the body, and doctors are now acknowledging the role our thinking plays in either keeping us healthy or making us sick. Our attitude makes a major difference in our quality of life on all levels.
To foster healthy relationships with others, we must be on guard against the damaging effects of anger and bitterness, and be willing to forgive others. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31, 32). Everyone makes mistakes, and the way to move past them is to choose to let go of the emotional baggage that drags us down when we nurse grudges. “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Colossians 3:13). This is part of true Christ-like humility.
Pessimism is the world’s mindset, but it can damage our souls and crush our spirits. This type of thinking isn’t God’s best for us. Trusting in Him when we’re struggling enables us to rise above negative thoughts. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV). Believing this will allow Him to bless all our relationships.