I once attended the funeral visitation of a six year old girl who died of cancer. She had battled this disease most of her short life. I gave the mother a hug and told her how sorry I was. She said to me, “I’m just thankful I had the opportunity to know her. I would have never known love like I do if I had not known her.”
This mother’s statement was so profound that it took me back and has stuck with me for years. This mother had gone through so much and yet she was grateful. It was mind boggling to me.
I also knew a wonderful elderly couple in west Tennessee. The man was in very poor health and nearing his last days. I had not seen this couple in some while. As I was talking with the wife she made a statement that took me back. She said, “I don’t know how much longer Wiley will be with us. I’m just thankful for every day I have with him.”
I could not understand at the time how she could have such an amazing attitude during such a trying time. I was not dealing with near as much, yet my attitude stunk. I remember being jealous of her attitude and thinking I wish I could be like that. I had no idea how to have that attitude. Thankfully, due to SFT Awareness, that has changed.
What do the women in the stories have in common? Gratitude – an attitude of gratitude. The more I teach and practice SFT the more I come to realize the importance of gratitude. It is a point that we talk about in the lessons of humility and positive attitude, but in my experience it cannot be stressed enough.
People who carry emotional pain have a high “ME” factor. It is like they have a full length mirror in front of them at all times and all they see is how everything affects them – negatively. They cannot see the truth because they are blinded by themselves. Being grateful helps to take down this mirror so things can be seen more clearly.
Keeping a gratitude journal helped me immensely to develop an attitude of gratitude. Because it was so helpful to me, I have all my participants to do the same as part of their homework.
So what is a gratitude journal? Every night before bed I wrote down five things for which I was thankful. Some things were general like the Bible, Jesus, Heaven, or my family, which helped me to keep a bigger picture overview. Other entries included more specific things from the day. Some entries were more challenging and included things for which I was thankful in regards to a pain event.
This change in attitude was not instant for me. Because I had been thinking so negatively for so long, it took many entries in the journal before a real change happened. Also, some days were harder than others to think of things for which to be thankful, but it was well worth it in the end. Gratitude has changed my life. And if I find myself slipping back into negative thinking I know it’s time to get down on my knees and start thanking God for his blessings again.