The Golden Rule says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This doesn’t mean the person you’re standing in front of will automatically “do unto you” as you “do unto them.” Sometimes our kindness will get an angry response. Or vice versa. The Golden Rule does mean if you wish people to show you consideration, you greatly increase the odds if you show you consideration first.
Sometimes instead of changing how you view something or someone it's better, faster, safer to just change your focus for a few moments. You'll get a quick hit of physical and psychological benefits by looking away from fear, even for just a few moments, and focusing on something for which you are grateful.
Sometimes it's nearly impossible to see someone through the eyes of love. In those instances, try looking at someone through the eyes of compassion. When you see someone as "more human," this creates opportunities for better communication and greater understanding between you. And it helps you -- body, mind, and spirit. In a divided world take every opportunity to tear down walls between us.
My quest to write 40 letters of gratitude as a Lenten practice was interrupted half-way through by a family emergency. Gratitude can be a powerful tool, bridging our sadness and sorrow to a place where we can rest in God's love. I had to learn how to make gratitude work for me, to get the profound benefits of gratitude while still experiencing my sadness.
My parents were fine living alone ... until they weren't. It takes a village to allow the elderly to age in place without moving to retirement communities, assisted living, or nursing homes. This week's gratitude goes to neighbors who surrounded them with care and concern. How have your neighbors impacted your life for the better? For whom are you grateful?
Work. The people we work with can be a source of aggravation or joy, often in the same day. We usually spend more time at work than we do anywhere else so it makes a big difference to your job satisfaction if you work with good people. How have your work colleagues impacted your life for the better? For whom are you grateful?
A simple decision to sit in a different place opened up my world at a time when I was feeling lost and alone. Our lives intersect in many ways. In the next 7 weeks I'll be sharing stories about people for whom I'm grateful as part of my Lenten practice of sending 40 letters of gratitude. For whom are you grateful?
I was raised being told I shouldn’t “feel sorry for myself,” that other people had it worse so I needed to suck up my emotions, be grateful for what I have, and move on. But gratitude doesn't work as a replacement for hard emotions -- it works alongside hard emotions, easing the sting and letting us focus on the wonder and beauty in our lives.
I am on a journey to write 40 letters of gratitude to coincide with the period of Lent. Come along!
For whom are you grateful?