How Men Can Keep a Good Attitude in Bad Times

attitudeThere is no one I know that hasn’t had some form of adversity in their life. The term “bad times” is very subjective, and for each man the term can take on a much different meaning.

Many of the circumstances surrounding bad times is out of our control. If you can learn to be positive, thankful and overcome in the bad times then you can accept what is, and to me this is the meaning of a good attitude in bad times.

Remaining Thankful

It’s Thanksgiving season right now and across the world American’s are reminescing what they’re thankful for. I bet even the most unthankful person is thankful right now whether they care to admit it or not.

One of my favorite verses reminds me that being thankful isn’t only about the good times, but remembering what I’m thankful for in the bad times too. God is good all the time. The last three words are the toughest to remember. It isn’t always easy to get my mind off the negative or every obstacle and impossibility. But there is something said about remaining positive and the strength it provides. And it’s contagous. Others love it.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Men Don’t Cry – Only in the movies

Men are required to maintain a stoic posture during bad times. They don’t cry, they don’t succumb to emotions due to the circumstances – Yea, right!

Some of my teenage role models and heroes were guys like Clint Eastwood and Bruce Willis. Guys that showed no emotion, had no affection for others, and no regrets. It seemed they could cut ties at the drop of a hat.

As a young man I believed this – A man shouldn’t cry and I didn’t – but it didn’t really help and instead left me full of rage. It was counterproductive in handling bad situations.

Don’t get me wrong, I think they did a great job displaying bravado and awesome gun fights for us men. But this idea that men don’t cry is skewed and very wrong. We have emotions and keeping them all bottled up inside is not healthy. I’m not advocating being a wuss or crying at every broken promise. I think there are healthy way to express these emotions at the right time.

In my 20’s I found a real man, a hero, living real life full of hard times. He didn’t have clever sayings or quotables. He didn’t have a following. There were no movies made after him. What he had was character, and part of this was transparency and authenticity with himself and others. He knew how to express his emotions at the right time and in a mature responsible manner. He communicated with others if he needed some time to process his emotions and when he was ready he shared his thoughts. He didn’t hold back every emotion and tear only to come back full of pent up frustrations.

Two movies have brought tears to my eyes: Prince of Egypt in 1998 and Warrior just a year ago. Both brought a few emotional tears to do with family that overwhelemd me. The first time I didn’t know what to do and felt embarrassed. I didn’t resolve my emotions nor the family issues and conflicted feelings. The following seven or so years I had a strained relationship with my dad. This second time I thought on it and found a healthy outlet which involved speaking with my dad and brother. It did take some humility but it felt great. I don’t know that if I had resolved these emotions the first time that my relationships with them would’ve gotten a lot better. I had a lot of maturing to do. But I do believe it would’ve been a good start.


Women are more emotional than men, true or false? More true than false, but because men are suppose to suck-it-up, when emotions flare up it can be a volcanic reaction.

Finding your release is very important to a man. I can have a ton of pent up emotions, go out and run a mile or two, then come back thinking clearly with a good attitude. Sometimes I need to chat with a friend or mentor. I had to learn what works for me; this is a discovery you’ll have to learn for yourself. It’s important that you do.

Unhealthy Addictions

Are there things you do that make you unhappy, but you still do them? Excessive drinking, illegal drugs and porn are all unhealthy outlets to escape reality. Instead of accepting and facing the challenge one runs away into a false, but damaging, reality.

Learning to Have a Good Attitude in Bad Times

There’s two points to the story. First is, my perspective in writing this article is not coming from a book, it’s from real circumstances. Second, as men we are not born with good attitudes, and we are not born with superpowers. We make mistakes, others make mistakes and we live in an imperfect world.

What is a Good Attitude?

In my experience acceptance and a clear head goes a long way in learning to develop a good attitude for each situation. Pretending the problem doesn’t exist or is smaller than it really is will not help. This is just ignoring it and it will come back; much worse.

Here are some examples:

You lose your job. You can go home and get depressed, or you can view it as an opportunity to explore new employment opportunities or further your education.

The loss of a loved one. There is a time of mourning, but will you cherish the memories and time you had together, or will you allow bitterness to fill your days going forward.

Encountering a health problem. Will you adopt the attitude “oh poor me,” or will you look for solutions?

These are rough spots to be in. But dwelling in them for too long produces nothing healthy. A good attitude in bad times starts with positivity and then the courage to face them the mature way.

The Challenge

Unfortunately, keeping a good attitude in bad times is not something that comes naturally to most men. Fortunately, most skills we possess we developed through living life. Add a good attitude to your arsenal.

A good attitude will not stop bad times from coming, but it will reduce the pain and longevity that bad times can cause – this I promise you. You’ll be a help to yourself, and a help to others. Become a Better Man.

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