An Attitude of Gratitude
We think we are hard done by because we have no shoes until we meet the person with no feet
In the Sunday paper (Sunday Mail Body and Soul section 15/12/13) there was a story about a family whose son was diagnosed with a severe neurological disorder when he was 15 months old. For this family their whole world has been turned upside down. For their son, the disorder means he cannot walk or talk, he will suffer recurrent respiratory infections and there’s a fair chance he will not live beyond 25 years of age.
What would happen if this were your child?
How would you respond?
What would you do?
Over the Christmas holiday period many of us have time we spend with family and friends. For some of us we look on this time as a fun-filled happy time and for others it is not so. For many people it is a time filled with despair and loneliness. Some people feel a sense of entrapment, a time when they feel they have no escape and they have to do certain things, be nice to people they don’t get along with and, generally, they feel their required behaviour is not in alignment with their inner selves and this results in their feeling “out of sorts” with the world and generally unhappy with life and themselves.
When we are subjected to the company of people we don’t necessarily get along with, it is easy to feel this way and because the other person’s behaviour irritates us, we often respond in an uncharitable manner.
Hey, what if, what you see in others was a reflection of something inside you – WOW is that a wake-up call! What do you mean? – I hear you say.
This reflection is a reflection of something inside you that you are (albeit unconsciously) projecting on to the other person. This reflection can be an act of kindness, a moment of compassion, a moment of awe and, sometimes, a lifetime of hell.
The behaviour of the other person is not the other person. They are two separate things. The behaviour of the other person will only be reflected back to you when you need it. If a person behaves in a certain way and there is no higher need for it to be reflected back to you, you will not even be aware of it because it is not inside you to start with. You will be totally unaware of it.
What can you do about this? When you see “good stuff” in others, that can be a reflection of the good stuff in you and it could also be a reminder to you to put some more good stuff out there. Do some random acts of kindness. This could be as simple as acknowledging someone in the street when you are walking past them or helping someone across the road.
When you experience some “not so good stuff”, this could be a time for reflection about yourself. Is there a reflection of some not so good stuff in you or maybe it’s a nudge to remind you to give something of yourself to others.
I invite you to give this some thought. When you see yourself being judgemental about someone’s behaviour, when you are pointing your finger at them and saying …
Just take note, there are also three fingers pointing back at you. These three fingers are there to bring to your attention the choice you have
- Say “thank you” for bringing this to my attention
- Ask yourself – what can I learn from this experience that will make me a better person?
Note: a learning must be positive, all about you and for the future
- What is your attitude? How do you want to feel about yourself – grateful, happy, understanding, confident, fulfilled somehow?
What could you feel about yourself that would be positive, that would nurture you, support you, challenge you or serve you to be a happier and more fulfilled person for the future?
When someone says or does something that is unkind, something that does not serve them in a positive way, support the, challenge them or nurture their human development, it is a call for help. They need to learn to love and respect themselves and when they do this, they can love and respect others – after all you cannot give something you don’t have. Try giving your kids $10 when your pockets are empty and you will quickly agree with this. There is no need for you to buy into their story.
And ask yourself – what if?
What if I accept the challenge to be a little more mindful?
What if I gave the other person the benefit of the doubt?
What if I offered a kind word or an ear to listen to their stuff?
What if I took the lead and made it my practice to see the cup was half full?
What if I chose to only see the good?
What if I let someone ahead of me in the supermarket queue or at the lights?
What if I chose to pay someone a compliment?
What if I chose to do an act of kindness just for no reason, with no attachment to the outcome?
What if …?
And the family whose story was in the paper on Sunday – they want to help their son, of course. However they have also chosen to be bigger than that and have set up a foundation to help other people with the same issues. In their words “the foundation gives us hope … as a parent you do everything for your children, some just need more than others”.
They are aware their child will need a lot of support and so they have adopted an attitude of gratitude, to live in the now and to help others, to give someone some hope.
As Wayne Dyer says – when you look at things differently they appear different to you.
Merry Christmas to everyone.
Every champion deserves a coach – why not you?