If you love stories that you can sink your teeth into…..
Here’s one from a seminar I attended.
I call it, The A-HA.
The instructor walked onto the stage to deliver a session called, The Power of Perspective and Mindset.
Without speaking she raised a glass of water over her head and held it there.
Everyone expected her to start talking about the “glass half empty or glass half full’ metaphor.
Instead, with a smile on her face, she asked, “how heavy is the glass of water I’m holding?”
We offered answers ranging from a couple of ounces to a couple of pounds.
After a few moments of fielding answers and nodding her head, she replied, “from my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass is irrelevant. It all depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute or two, its light. If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache. If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor. In each case, the absolute weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.”
As most of us nodded our heads in agreement she continued.
“Worries, frustrations, disappointments, resentments and stressful thoughts are very much like this glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing drastic happens. Think about them a bit longer and you feel noticeable pain. Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb and paralyzed, incapable of doing anything else until you drop them”.
Immediately I think of my own anxious thoughts and how they can loop around and around getting heavier and heavier with each loop. I think of women I work with who are carrying worries that are disabling or shouldering years old baggage that immobilizes and stops them from living. I think of how behind our well tended facade and pleasant demeanor we are all carrying something.
HOW TO REFRAME
Start by realizing its time to let go and put the glass down.
Take several deep, slow, gentle breaths to calm the mind and body.
Exhale slowly making sure the exhale breath is longer than the inhale (this slows the heartbeat and signals the body that all is well). Imagine smiling into your heart with each breath.
GRATITUDE PROVIDES THE RESET
The answers we seek are often found not in complexity but in simplicity.
The fastest way to change perspective and reset life is through gratitude.
One of the best times to focus on gratitude is when you don’t feel like it.
This is when it can make the bigger difference.
THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING TO BE GRATEFUL FOR
Whatever is weigh on you, find something to be grateful for.
A health issue – grateful it was identified and is being addressed + grateful I/we have the opportunity to learn new things and make changes that will strengthen + grateful I/(loved one) are in the hands of capable medical professionals.
A child leaving home to home to travel or attend college – grateful for time to focus on me + grateful son/daughter has the opportunity to grow and become independent.
A difficult partner/friend– grateful for the opportunity to develop patience and to learn to be less reactive.
Money – grateful I have enough for today + grateful for the ideas to generate more money that are coming to me + grateful for the way I always find the solutions I need + grateful that money flows to me + grateful I have everything I need.
Work – grateful I was let go because now I have the opportunity to find something even better + grateful I now have to work with difficult person because it will strengthen me, better my communication skills and I’ll have a chance to show what I am made of + grateful I didn’t get the job/promotion/sale it shows me there is something more I need to know.
These are general examples but you get the idea.
SET THE GLASS DOWN
The reframing of the situation that is causing worry, frustration, stress, disappointment, resentment will allow you to calmly set the glass down and take a step forward.
Admittedly life’s struggles are not easy to find gratitude for, but they can become incredible paths of growth if we find the lesson in them.
If we can gratefully see them as a teacher.
More on gratitude.
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