I was pondering this morning how to change from a negative mood (which I was surely beginning to be in) and a positive one. I quickly turned to my Higher Power for wisdom. I thought about being grateful and so in the conversation I was engaged in I switched it up. I went from focusing on the issue to just being grateful in general, to what was good, what was positive. I asked the person, what feels good to you? What about you do you like? What character traits do you like in you? I was amazed first by the answer of the question with a question, “What do you mean?” and secondly by the traits loving honesty, loyalty and caring which were exactly the things that were the point of the conversation. And it dawned on me…if you like being loving, then love, if you don’t you will be at odds with that thing in yourself that you love. If you like that you are honest, then be honest, if you don’t you will be at odds … and yes, poetically, calmly and lovingly I went through that list.
Then I picked up the book The Power and opened it to where it might take me. And here is where it opened to:
“It’s impossible to feel sad or have any negative feeling when you’re grateful. If you’re in the midst of a difficult situation, look for something to be grateful for. When you find one thing, then look for another, and then another, because every single thing you find to be grateful for changes the situation. Gratitude is the bridge from negative feelings to harnessing the force of love!
“Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.” – John Henry Jowett (1864-1923)” The Power, pg. 133
We read this in so many words in all of our CAL in 12 step programs. And it’s true. It is a choice we make. What choice do we make today? Will focus on the negative or the positive in life?
“Be grateful! Gratitude costs you nothing, but it is worth more than all the riches in the world. Gratitude enriches you with all the riches in life, because whatever you’re grateful for multiplies.” The Power, pg 136
Whatever we are grateful for multiplies the feelings of gratitude and love…a true real love, unconditional. So many people I know do not know how to be disgruntled about something someone has done or said and be able to continue to show love. It occurs to me that they were not shown unconditional love and therefore do not know how to give it, much more than that the daunting task of learning to develop it. When we withdraw or give love based on good or bad behavior it is a quick route to failure of relationships. One good thing in one area of life did not ignite our love…so why would one failure (repetitive thought it may be sometimes) in one area of life extinguish it?
Making giving love and gratitude contingent on one act, phrase, or moment begs the question do we really love? How do we find out if we do? Ask ourselves, what do you love about that person, what do you like, if you look for it you will find it. Be grateful for the things you do love about them, and be grateful for those things in yourself that you love, recognize them, then be them. When you do that it is easy to see those things in others.
Steps 4 and 10 are a great way to do this. We are not only to take a regular personal inventory of the negative things, or the things we need to make amends for, but of the positive character traits too. When we do this on a regular basis, recognize what is good, what we love and are grateful for about ourselves we learn to care and love ourselves in a way that is healthy and positive. Once we start doing this in ourselves, it is easier to do in others as well.
Make today one full of gratitude, for that good that is in you as well as the world around you. It will multiply!