Monday, September 27, 2010

The Attitude of Gratitude

(from 'The Attitudes of Gratitude" by M.J. Ryan)

A therapist I know was treating a woman who'd had a serious stroke and could not talk. She didn't seem too troubled by it, but her family considered it a great tragedy. As a young Jewish woman, her verbal ability was a great gift - it had even saved her life. She spoke 5 languages and had survived the Holocaust by becoming a translator for the Nazis in a concentration camp. After the war, she moved to America and supported her family by teaching foreign languages. Now she struggled for words and her adult children were constantly jumping in to "help" by filling in her words.
The stroke had changed her in other ways too. Cold and distant as a mother, the stroke had left her very physically affectionate and she constantly touched her children. But they were so caught up in the loss of her speaking ability that they didn't recognize that what they were now receiving from her was the kind of affection that they had longed for all their lives.
The therapist taught them to use the source of their frustration (their mother's inability to speak) to trigger a cultivation of an attitude of gratitude (for their longed for affection). Is there something in your life that you find terribly annoying or difficult? Is there some hidden gift in the annoying situation that you can focus on to create an attitude of gratitude?

No comments:

Post a Comment