The Power of Gratitude1感恩的力量
When my older son was diagnosed with Attention Deficit2 Hyperactivity Disorder3, my first reaction was relief － I finally knew the reason for his behavior. However, I was also overwhelmed with sadness, fear and anger. I felt sorry for my son and for myself. Like many others in similar circumstances, my question to God was "Why me?"
Through the grace of God, I am now able to focus on my gratitude. I believe God chose me to raise my son because He knew that I would give him the best I have. He will teach me to love and understand him for who he is. I am grateful that I have my son, and grateful that God chose me to be his mother.
There is power and healing in gratitude.
How can gratitude help us in our everyday lives as moms? Think about the difference you can make in your family’s life just by noticing and being thankful for all the great things they do. When you express gratitude, you show your love and appreciation4. Everyone needs to feel these things every day. Sometimes as moms we feel that no one appreciates us － and it is true that moms are usually last on the list to be thanked. One way you can teach gratitude is by example. Even on the days when it seems your children or husband are doing everything wrong, find a reason to thank them. Take the time and energy to look for the good. Think about the things that your family does that deserve a “Thank you.” You might say to your husband, “Thank you for working so hard for our family," or, to your child, “I really appreciate your sense of humor － it feels good to laugh.” Expressing your gratitude helps family members to understand how it feels to be appreciated. And if they still don’t catch on, let them know when you feel unappreciated. You can also tell them how great it makes you feel when they do express gratitude.
Gratitude is a wonderful motivator when you need cooperation. When enlisting5 the help of my two year old, I praise him often and with enthusiasm. I let him know that he is a great helper. I know I am teaching him appreciation because he expresses it to me. The other day I brought a bunch of multi-colored roses home. For five days, at least once or twice a day, my son thanked me for the flowers.
Sometimes we get so busy and caught up in daily life that we forget to be grateful. We expect everyone to do their share without being asked. The only time anyone hears anything is when a chore has not been completed. This attitude, over the long haul, will develop very resentful and uncooperative family members.
When life is good, gratitude is easy. It becomes more challenging to be grateful when we are experiencing hard times. Financial hardship, long-term illness, the death of a loved one and marital6 strife7 can all be trying and difficult. It is hard to find anything to be grateful for. But while pain is inevitable8, suffering is optional. We have a choice in how we view our circumstances. We can turn our hearts to God and trust that he has a plan for us. We can be thankful for the lessons we learn and the opportunities for personal growth and transformation9. Look at all the people in this world who share the gifts they received during especially difficult times of their life. It is the painful times of my life that have made me stronger, wiser, and more loving today.
I recently attended a powerful seminar on the various levels of energy that a human being emanates10. The presenter11 identified seven different levels of energy. The first level of energy is defined by feelings of apathy12 and thoughts of victimization. A person at a level two energy has feelings of anger and thoughts of conflict. As a person moves up the energy scale, their feelings and thoughts are more positive. At level seven, one would experience unconditional13 love and no judgmental thoughts. Only God radiates at level seven. The average person emits energy at a level of 2.5. To experience peace and joy, an in- pidual must raise his energy level to 5 or 6.
So how can we raise our energy level and open our heart to joy? One powerful way is to develop an attitude of gratitude. Look at every- one with grateful eyes. Listen to your heart and the heart of your loved ones. Speak words of affirmation every day of your life. Be grateful for your life with all its lessons and blessings14. The more grateful thoughts and feelings you experience and express the more instrumental you will be in healing the world. And your outlook on life will improve in the process.