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Attitude of Gratitude Part 2

09 August

In the last article I shared how to breathe and focus on ANYTHING in your life you’re grateful for.  I hope you tried it. It’s such a simple process that it can be easy to overlook. I promise you though, it works. Even if you just practice it just once or twice a day for two minutes, it can begin to shift how you feel and what you expect. Shifting what you expect will bring you wonderful things you’d like to expect in your life.

You may wonder how you let go of something and act grateful when you’re wound up, angry, depressed or frustrated. You decide. You choose to look at situation differently.

Let me relate a story that might help you see what I mean.  A woman was in the supermarket after a long day of work – she hurried through, getting what she needed so she could get in the line to wait to pay for her items and get home and out of her business clothes so she could kick up her feet.

She finally got close to the checkout clerk and noticed that she was behaving rather rudely to the customer in front of her. Not making eye contact, being a bit brusque. When the customer pointed out that she had rung up an item incorrectly, she grabbed it from the customers’ hand, banged it down on the counter and corrected the price – she seemed annoyed, not at all helpful.

Our friend was starting to get ticked off. She’d had a hard day, she didn’t need further difficulty somewhere she was used to good service, somewhere she was spending her hard earned dollars and where she wanted to be treated with respect and civility. She was getting really worked up and righteous.

When she checked out, she had the same experience. The young woman never looked at her, never said hello, in fact she treated her like she was an annoyance. She rang up her items incorrectly and then actually glared at her when she had to fix it.

On her way out of the store, and worked up into a really good head of steam about not shopping here anymore, or at least complaining to the manager the next time, she ran into a young man gathering up shopping carts in the parking lot. When he asked her if he could help her with her groceries, she let him and started unloading her fury about how poorly she was treated.

The young man listened and then said: Oh, I’m really sorry. That’s Debra – she’s normally the nicest person in the store. Her little boy got hit by a car yesterday when he was riding his bicycle and he’s in intensive care – no one knows what’s going to happen. She just got divorced, has no health insurance and can’t even afford to take the day off to be with him. She’s a wreck.

Right then and there, everything shifted in our friend’s mind. She felt awful. She wanted to reach out and help the young woman, she was overflowing with compassion, and a bit of guilt too.

What’s really significant about the story is that when she told the story – almost 10 years later, she was still using it to drive her behaviour. To accept that things are not always as they appear and to know that how you react to something is a choice. What if you knew something different – for example that all the business and money you needed was about to come your way and you could enjoy anticipating it instead of driving yourself to a state of despair because you can’t see it yet?

It’s always a choice. And the interesting reality is that when you choose to see a better picture, one comes into focus. Your life improves and you enjoy it more. In reality, every moment is your life and you are choosing whether it’s a quality moment or not. Try practicing gratitude, remembering that most of us are doing the very best we can and that we never really know what anyone else is up against. Be kind – especially to yourself. Expect great things and see how they unfold and become part of your reality!

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