An exchange that Jacobs has with his son and describes in the introduction to his book helped me realize something. Although expressing gratitude has great benefits for ourselves, think of the change we bring to the world when we express that gratitude to others. How different would your relationship have felt if you heard some genuine words of gratitude occasionally? Your pathological partner may not have been capable of that, but you are! In that one simple way, you have the power to change your own world…and the world for many others, too.
What’s On My Gratitude List Right Now
I’ve been having a tough week, but it always helps me to shift my focus toward gratitude. Here is what I am appreciating today as I write. How about you?
• Music…and especially this week, my life’s theme song, Moon River, and the voices of Audrey Hepburn and Andy Williams to sing it.
• That my mom is still with me and is such a great example and that I am still learning from her.
• Not yet do I feel grateful for experiencing a pathological relationship, but yes for the ability to learn and grow from its role in my life. For the greater compassion for others I experience because of it. For the appreciation it has catalyzed in me for many things I had taken for granted—such as the ability to change and the ability to love and the ability to sleep without interruption.
• Meditation and the awareness it brings and the joy that brings. Another reason to be grateful for the toxic relationship, without which I may have never been motivated to learn to meditate.
• The embrace of uncertainty…the ability to live without knowing, to accept the flow of life, to see it all as a great adventure and to look forward to the unexpected as a benefit rather than a threat.
• And certainty…knowing I will never go back, knowing I will never give myself away again, knowing for sure that I will learn and grow, even from ‘the bad stuff.’
• This moment—right now—when I sit with sore back and cramped legs after a day of computer malfunctions…I am grateful for the ability to write myself out of pain, to think and process information, to get up and walk without a wheelchair, to have so much knowledge at my fingertips through the Internet…and to have ice cream in the refrigerator.
• Choices…I am so thankful for having so many choices and for my ability to choose…for that is really what freedom is all about. For a long time, I made choices that did not serve me well. Now, I am willing to choose what will enhance my life and fill my spirit. To focus on gratitude rather than resentment or despair. To choose life and its fullness.
Um, Do We Have To Do That Again?
One last note: Thanksgiving kicks off ‘The Holiday Season’ here in the United States—shopping, parties, presents, family…and expectations. And where family and expectations meet up, there are often ‘issues.’ Especially if getting together with family feels like entering a dark forest of “narcissists and sociopaths and psychopaths, oh my!"