I spent last weekend on a quick trip to Portland, OR, which required two days devoted to air travel. It gave me lots of opportunity to observe both my fellow travelers and a variety of flight crews.
We were all in the same commuter-sized planes, the same cramped and uncomfortable conditions, but I noticed a wide variation in attitudes in both passengers and crew. I also noticed that when the flight attendants interacted with the passengers with apparent enjoyment and enthusiasm it was contagious. The passengers became more relaxed and friendly and the atmosphere in the plane changed. We were still uncomfortable and a little nervous, but some of the fretfulness disappeared.
This phenomenon was not limited to the flight crew. While boarding the plane I noticed that when passengers squeezing into seats next to strangers were met with a friendly greeting they tended to respond in kind and become more relaxed as they settled in for the long flight, while the people who were made to feel like intruders in their assigned seats sort of shrunk into themselves and seemed ill-at-ease.
This is no new discovery on my part. We have all seen one person’s mood infect an entire group. But it did serve to remind me of how important my attitude can be, not only to my own experiences, but for those around me.
We each have a tremendous power to impact others for good or ill. With power always comes responsibility.
I’m going to try to remember that, especially today while I am fasting and purging in preparation for tomorrow’s invasive medical procedure. I can moan about how deprived and hungry I am today and make my family miserable, or I can be grateful for the modern medicine that can screen our bodies to protect us from potential harm. I can be grateful for my health insurance that will cover most of the cost, for my job that provides the health insurance and income to pay my share. I can concentrate on gratitude that this screening is only routine. And tomorrow when I go to the hospital at the crack of dawn I can show a friendly face to the staff who will be caring for me.
When we concentrate on gratitude we become more generous to others. In doing so we make our own days more joyful, too.
Today I am going to strive for an attitude of gratitude.
Thanks for reading.