Step 2 – gratitude

I’m sitting here contemplating two recent posts I read this morning. One was on the Graduate Blogs page posted by Rhoda titled, “I’m too old for this!”

This blog talked about dealing with an uncomfortable situation and how Rhoda handled it. Rhoda ended her blog this way:

“I left the computer lab feeling hassled and confused. However, I learned three important lessons. Stay tuned as I reveal the three important lessons I learnt.”

Needless to say, I’m definitely hooked into finding out what Rhoda learned from her unpleasant encounter.

The other post was about a friend’s experience in rural Maryland while driving to work on back roads. She encountered a small herd of cows wandering the road on their way to ‘somewhere’ as she sat patiently waiting for them to exit the road in search of their destination. Her comment went something like this:

“As their long tongues and big eyes stared at me, I had a strange desire for a hamburger! Thank you, Mr. Cow, for your deliciousness!”

What do these two posts have in common? Gratitude.

My friend’s comment about the cow experience addressed gratitude directly and reminded me how powerful that emotional state is. Rhoda’s comment about what she will reveal as her lesson from her encounter reminds me that even unpleasant encounters conceal a gift. And gratitude is the appropriate response to having received that gift. Receiving it requires being aware of it, though.

So, as my next step in breaking the negative thinking habit, I am practicing gratitude today. I am grateful even for the uncomfortable things in my life. As I ‘look for the positive’ hidden in the negative, I am reminded of the small child who asked for a pony for Christmas.

His parents, not wanting to say no outright, decided to use reverse psychology on the little boy and gave him a pile of horse manure and a shovel to show him that he wasn’t ready for the responsibility of owning and caring for a pony.

When the little boy saw the mound of manure and the small shovel lying beside it, his eyes lit up. He picked up the shovel and started to dig. His parents were stunned at his behavior and his dad asked him what he was doing.

His reply? There must be a pony hidden somewhere in here!

Hmm…How many times do I forget to dig for the ‘gift’ that came wrapped in an uncomfortable situation? If I keep my thoughts focused on seeing beyond the discomfort, maybe I will catch a glimpse of the gift waiting for me.

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