What a glorious rainy day here in Northern Virginia!
For those of you who just cant find the joy in a rainy day…know that Sunday will bring us a fabulously sunny SPRING day!
I saw this article while perusing the b2b Skills Training Website. Enjoy!
Perception is Everything: Finding Joy in Rainy Days
Jun 15, 2016 | Posted by b2b Skills Training
Does perception influence attitude?
Earlier this year, I met with a management team to conduct a training program. The day started out with long, heavy downpours and I introduced myself as the soggy participants trickled into the conference room.
In the process, I had a friendly exchange with an individual who asked how I was doing. I said that I felt wonderful on such a beautiful rainy day. He paused and I could tell he wasn’t sure if I was joking. “Seriously?”, he asked. “Absolutely” I replied, “I’m glad we’re getting the rain, I love the smell of the air and my cistern at home desperately needs the water.” I wasn’t joking at all. It was a simple and brief interaction, but it reminded me about how our perceptions shape our attitudes and behaviour.
Several years ago, when I’d just started counselling, I had a colleague who illustrated this beautifully for me. Dean was a seasoned clinician who shared with me about his experience growing up as a child and how much he dreaded the rain. Not only were rainy days times when he would be stuck in the house, unable to play outside, he had some very powerful negative associations with the rainy weather and they provoked deep feelings of sadness. These feelings lasted well into his adulthood. He hated rainy days.
Can we change our perception?
Then something happened. He married and had children later in life and recognizing his own dread of rainy days, made a conscious decision to change this experience for his kids. He started thinking of all the great things about rainy days and introduced his young kids to these great things too. As it turns out, rainy days are ideal for wearing bright yellow raincoats and rubber boots. They’re great for getting wet and splashing in mud puddles and for tasting raindrops on the tip of your tongue. It seems they’re also perfect for digging up worms and making mud pies.
These were the traditions he started with his children and these traditions became the reason why he and his family love rainy days. So, what changed? The rain is just as wet, the skies just as grey, but the thing that changed was that he created new positive associations, replacing feelings of sadness with feelings of joy. He changed the script in his head. The script that once read: “Rainy days, Oh no”, now read: “Rainy days, YES!”
It’s an empowering concept and one that has resonated with me over the years. The idea that I can change my attitude with a shift in perspective is something that has helped me reframe situations, both personally and professionally. It’s helped me to gain perspective and in doing so, change the way I feel. I took away two messages from his story:
Many of us believe that the events of our lives, relationships, work, and even our health, automatically dictate our moods, attitudes and behaviour, when in fact it’s our perception, our interpretation of these life events, that leads to our feelings, whatever those may be.
We are always sharing our perceptions and way we see the world with others, sometimes directly through conversations, but more telling, through our actions. Challenging our own perceptions can therefore have the dramatic effect of influencing someone else’s attitude as well, for good or otherwise.
So, what are the rainy day perceptions that are guiding your attitudes about your job, your co-workers, your boss, your career path? Are your current perceptions working for you or against you? Are you allowing them to hold you back and limit your potential? And if they’re working against you, are you willing to challenge the way you think to improve how you feel?