One day when I was sitting in history class in 8th grade, my neighbor noticed me squinting to see the board. She leaned over and handed me her glasses and said, "Try these." I put them on and a whole new world opened up to me. I COULD SEE!
It's a sentiment that I have since encountered many times in my life, though it has nothing to do with my actual vision.
There are times in our lives when "bad" things happen, which when looked upon with a different pair of glasses, can later be seen as "good" things. Unfortunately, for many of us that time between the "bad" thing happening and our having better hindsight can take awhile. (I probably needed glasses when I was in 3rd grade, but didn't end up getting them until 8th grade--5 years in which I could have been seeing and experiencing life in a whole different way.)
Unfortunately, the longer we mull over the past wearing the same lousy glasses, the unhappier we are. Which means that the sooner we look through new glasses, the happier we can become.
So, how do we shorten the time period between the "bad" event and our seeing it as "good," so that we can release some of our negative feelings and see the situation in a different way?
The answer is GRATITUDE.
Here is a recent example:
Last Monday, we were supposed to fly to see my husband's parents. The day before, we received an email saying that our flight was cancelled due to a crew strike with Air France. We immediately cancelled our plans to go hiking with friends, packed our bags, and got in the car and started the 11 hour drive, practicing gratitude whenever we started to feel pissed.
We were grateful for the opportunity to see more of France. We were grateful for the opportunity to stop and spend time with a friend that we wouldn't have otherwise seen. We were grateful to practice patience, despite our 4 year old screaming, "THIS IS TAKING TOO LONG." We were grateful for our picnics at the rest-stops. We were grateful for the times when the children took naps.
We were grateful for things we didn't even know we could be grateful for.
As Brené Brown says, "There is no joy without gratitude."
What about you? What would you see and experience if you put on your gratitude glasses?
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Courage. Compassion. Connection.