Worth Reading from Off the Web
“No doubt, our parents worked tirelessly to get us to say “thank you” when someone offered a gift or did us a favor. Most likely, they succeeded in getting us to mouth these words. But while we internalized proper etiquette, did we understand the purpose behind uttering thanks? To what extent did we develop an inner sense of feeling and conveying genuine gratitude?
Gratitude is a corrective to our sense of entitlement. One aspect of narcissism is the belief that we deserve to get without having to give. We feel that we’re entitled to fulfill our needs without being troubled by perceiving another’s world and responding to others’ needs. Our attention is fully absorbed within a limited and narrow sense of self.
The capacity to experience gratitude means that we’re extending attention beyond ourselves to perceive what someone has given us or done for us. During a moment of gratitude, our eyes open to the existence of the other. Simultaneously, we register how their eyes opened to recognize our existence as separate from their own.
As explained in Dancing with Fire: A Mindful Way to Loving Relationships:
When someone offers a compliment, expresses gratitude, or reaches out to touch us, do we allow it to seep deeply into our body and being? Are we mindful of how we are touched by it? Perhaps our stomach relaxes or we notice a warmth in our heart. Can we permit ourselves to savor that precious moment?
Sadly, we often permit these precious moments to zoom by. We don’t pause long enough to let them enter a tender place in our heart. We may remain armored, cut off, and disconnected from ourselves and the other person.
How often do we let potential moments of connection evaporate because we’re not mindful of their precious nature? Does this lack of recognition contribute to our loneliness, our sense of disconnection and isolation? Feeling and conveying gratitude allows us to hold these moments a little longer as we receive more consciously, deeply, and intimately.
This movement beyond self delivers us to a deeper sense of connectedness with our world. It might be gratitude for an old-fashioned birthday card or a phone call from a friend who asks how we’re doing. Or, it might be as simple as being more mindful when someone holds a door open for us, pausing a moment until we reach the door.
We might think it’s just a basic courtesy that’s expected. And perhaps their main motivation was to avoid the embarrassment of seeming to be self-centered. On the other hand, maybe they looked back at us, making friendly eye contact, while offering a warm smile.
If so, we’re being offered more than the gesture of an open door. We’re getting a little bit of their heart as well. Do we notice this? Do we let it in? Do we notice appreciation for their kind attention? If so, perhaps this adds some delightful zest to our expression of thanks.
Oftentimes, our rote “thank you” is limited to the realm above our neck rather than infuse our entire being. What needs to happen to actually experience the gratitude and appreciation that would inject a richer meaning into our words of thanks?
The next time someone offers a gift or a word or gesture of recognition, notice how you feel in your body. Take a deep breath and allow the good feeling to register not just in your head, but throughout your entire being. Notice if a sense of gratitude and appreciation wells up inside you — and experiment with allowing words of gratitude to bubble up from this deeper wellspring of your being.”
You’re bound to have the wrong idea about therapy if you’ve never been. And you’re not alone. But for starters, it’s not about being sick, being crazy, weak, or self-obsessed.
Therapy helps with the problems of living through collaboration with a trained professional.
People pursue therapy for a variety of reasons, but typically for the common everyday issues of living that are causing distress – things they haven’t found answers for through other means. Psychotherapy may come in the form of support, information, guidance, self-understanding, or a safe place to learn and practice new skills.
Many people believe that the support of a good friend can substitute for therapy. While social support is important for everyone, therapy is very different from relationships with friends and family. For one thing, therapists are highly trained professionals who’ve spent years learning and practicing how to treat cognitive, emotional, behavioral and relationship issues.
Secondly, social relationships are reciprocal – friends go back and forth discussing each other’s issues. Also,with friends you’re more likely to censor yourself, either because you don’t want to hurt their feelings or portray yourself or others in a bad light.
And, lastly, therapy is confidential. Therapists are legally mandated secret-keepers.And finally, when you’re in therapy, you can share that same issue in a safe environment, uncensored, where the focus is entirely on you.
People seek therapy for:
Self-Exploration: Some people come to therapy to gain a deeper understanding of self. They want to know why they do what they do, why they feel what they feel and determine how much control they have over those areas.
Support in Coping: Loss is a common reason for people to seek therapy. Therapy can provide a safe, supportive place for people to talk about grief, the end of a relationship or job, abuse issues, or any change in life circumstances that cause distress.
Help alleviating anxiety, depression, anger, and confusion.
Learning new coping skills like better communication for dealing with conflict and frustration, managing emotions, or mindfulness.
Learning a process for overcoming pain, working through loss, and adding meaning to your life.
If you would like to change your life, therapy is a good way to do it. Get suggestions from friends, or do some on-line research!
Next topic - Questions to ask a therapy-candidate before you go.
The Work by Byron Katie (we call her Katie).
Read what she says about Then, and Now:
In the BBC series, “The Wonders of Life”, Professor Brian Cox considers what it is about our world that has made it a home and asks what ingredients are necessary to turn a tiny spec of rock in space into a living, vibrant planet.
The quote above was a profound conclusion: We are all made from the same stuff, and its apparently an inevitable result of the creation of our Universe.
Personally, I see no conflict with scientists’ conclusions and a spiritual existence. We were meant to be here:
You are a child of the universe.
No less than the trees and the stars.
You have a right to be here and whether
or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe
is unfolding as it should.
Carl Jung, a psychoanalyst I’ve long admired, called this shadow work. He said we never see others. Instead we see only aspects of ourselves that fall over them. Shadows. Projections. Our associations. If we can see and accept those aspects of Self that we would rather cast out – the parts we don’t like – we will find ourselves more understanding, forgiving, caring and loving toward others.
If you want a glimpse your darker side, try this little mind trick : judge others’ unabashedly on paper (for your eyes only!). Now, find the ways that quality speaks about you.
True about me? Lets see… Have I ever thought I was better than others?
• When I get annoyed that the driver in front of me is “too” slow. (i.e., My way of driving is better than theirs)
• When I think I’m smarter than the support staff or employees at PetSmart (ouch)
• When I think others’ are superior to me. (I’m not smart enough, in good enough shape, creative enough, fun enough, young enough, or successful enough)
As I make my list, it is sinking in… I know the next time I see another as “thinking they’re superior to others“, I will probably realize I do not know the one I am judging, and I may feel more compassion for those I imagine are not being understood.