"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." Brother David Steindl-Rast

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Choose Your Zinger

Today I am grateful for a sweatshirt and stocking cap to keep me warm in a brisk wind. I am also grateful that I have other recovering alcoholics in my life to help me remember this daily disease we share.

One of the key lessons I learned as I began practicing gratitude is that it is very effective at displacing self-pity. And my level of self-pity needed a budging. It had run rampant in my mind for years and seemed to have taken up permanent residence. Negative and self-defeating thoughts far outnumbered uplifting and confident ones.

Unhappy with the state of affairs my life was in. Feeling sorry for myself and my shortcomings, which I believed were many. Putting my "poor Lisa" spin on most things that happened to me. These all gave me a rather dim outlook on life and perception of myself. You get the idea.

This key lesson has been a real zinger, but not one that came in fast and sharp. It has come in slowly over time, hitting the target right on center, repeatedly. Lisa--you can't feel sorry for yourself and be grateful at the same time. You have a choice. Which will it be? The zinger of demoralization and darkness via self-pity or the zinger of optimism and energy via gratitude? The first is a painful zap that knocks you down. The second is an energizing zap that lifts you up.

It hasn't been easy to send self-pity packing, to kick it to the curb, to banish it to the fringes of my mind. It still comes around. But it has been dislodged and displaced by the habitual gratitude I work to apply to each and every day. It is the best work I do. It is the zinger I choose.

Which zinger are you choosing today?

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