[Classic post from 2-4-14]
This post is about self-talk mainly and how the only way to make changes you would like to make is to tell a different story in your head and to others too. It is so a part of becoming a grateful person. I’ll give you a couple examples.
Since my wife died just less than 6 months ago, I’ve been living a lot of memories in my head and in my sight too. I’ve gone through thousands of photographs, chosen a strong number of them and have pasted them on my cabinets in my office. It has been all part of coming to terms with the last few years of our lives together. I remember similar situations in the past whenever there was a change from something that has been for a good period of time.
There was a tendency for me to think of things I should have or could have done to make things better. What could I have done differently that would have changed things? You probably know the drill. It’s not feeling sorry for myself, but thinking that somehow I wasn’t enough.
So, I began telling a different story on purpose. I began thinking how good a husband and provider I was. I began thinking about all the good things I did; the positive things; the important things. I began talking this out as if I were talking to her about how I did this and that and how much this meant to me and that and so on. It was perfect and it turned me around toward such gratitude–not only more gratitude for her and all that she brought to the relationship but gratitude for all that I did as well. When I might think of something she was upset, angry or unhappy with about me or something I did or failed to do, I would mentally speak back of what I did do and that I did what I knew and was capable of and so on. In other words, I rejected the idea that I had failed in any way.
It’s about experience. We can’t grow forward ten years and then take that wisdom back in time with us to make better decisions. It was what it was. If we are doing the best we can with what we have to work with, then that is exactly what it was. What I would do today is of zero importance. It is not possible to merge the two, but what I can do is praise her for her choices and me for mine. I can see the love that was the foundation under it all. And, last, I am the only one in charge of me and I can choose to change, grow, become a grateful person even if she may have chosen otherwise.
These kinds of things happen not just with losses of loved ones but in business with old bosses, old friends that may not be in favor today and so on.
The tendency was for me to find myself blameless by affixing blame on my boss, my wife or some other person. My self-talk was always justifying what I did or didn’t do and how the other parties were the ones to blame for anything off kilter. Now, my self-talk is finding what they did right and well and how much I appreciated them for all that they brought, and equally important, that I appreciated myself in the same way. I began seeing scenarios working perfectly instead of previously being problems or ugly situations. As I focused on appreciation and gratitude, all the other things faded away.
In this process, I have found more love and respect and admiration for Nancy and for the other important people in my life. I have at the same time found love enough for me to be enough.
Gratitude Changes Everything. It May Require Practice. No. It Does Require Practice.
Spread Some Joy Today–by changing your self-talk to appreciate yourself and all those on your path.