Seeing, acknowledging and appreciating what we do have rather than constantly focusing on what we don’t have seems to me to be a way of building on something solid. When we focus on what we don’t have it’s hard to feel good about ourselves, difficult to feel gratitude and it’s more than likely we will see ourselves as lacking or inferior in some way – which of course can be quite depressing.
One of our great helpers died recently having been through many years of cancer. Even his oncologist called him Lazarus because he kept coming back each year although all predictions were that he’d not see the last two or three years. His attitude was amazing. One day a young man came into the Centre and was full of complaints about what he didn’t have. Our helper Patrick waited for a while and said “When I wake up in the morning I say ‘Ah, I’m still alive – thank you, another day’”. How he used each of those many days he said ‘thank you’ for and what he achieved despite all odds was no less than remarkable.
When I saw him I often thought of all that was wrong in his body, what doctors and others had told him, the several places he had cancer and what could happen for him at any time. Yet on he went, planning and dreaming, buying season tickets and, all importantly, focusing on his next step and what he wanted to achieve and what he did have.
I have the sense that if we can see what we do have we potentially inspire ourselves. When we’re down on ourselves on how badly we compare with others then our bodies slump and our breathing is shallow. When we hold our heads up it’s as if we reunite with a universe full of possibilities and our sense of abundance moves from what we want outside ourselves to a new view from the inside.
Martin Seligman, the well-known psychologist/author, conducted a world wide experiment involving thousands of people. He asked that when they went to bed each night, for at least a month, they thought of three happenings that day that they felt gratitude for. He said the reports that came back to him were overwhelmingly heart-warming as people told of many benefits including a much deeper sense of peace and contentment.
So there you are! Can you see what you have? Perhaps this could be the real jackpot of life which costs you nothing – you just have to turn the lights on and there it is – but perhaps this is all too simple? Maybe we should be looking for something much more complicated, bigger and more sensational. It’s really up to each of us to decide – and in the end it’s all about choice – or is it really about perception and attitude?