A wish is a mental contrast between what you perceive and what you want. What if you could change what you perceive? If you change what you think about the circumstances, you have a wider range of options for your response, and your response is what makes you happy.
On a rainy day, it’s easy to complain about the damp and the cold. But it’s also easy to think about the air being cleaned, the land soaking up life-giving water, and the reservoirs being replenished.
While you are driving to work in the rain, you notice that some people drive fast, ignoring the weather. You can choose how you feel about that, judging them: “That idiot should not be driving like that!” or observing them: “He’s in a hurry. I’ll get out of his way.”
Suppose you think of a woman who whines and complains. What she wishes for is to be heard and accepted. She may be unskilled in getting the kind of strokes she wants.
If your own ego feels that it is not getting as much attention as her whining does, you compete with her story, playing “mine is worse than yours” so that you both feel worse. Instead, look for another tactic. Your goal might be to give her some of the attention she wants, rather than trying to make her change her behavior.
What if you treated her as you might treat your cat, when you cat wants to be petted despite your impending deadline? The cat wants what it wants now, and it may be very persistent. You might push it away only to have it return to bother you, but you might also take a short break and pet it.
What if you agreed with her? “Yes, you must have found that frustrating. You didn’t like that response. You thought the other person should have done something different.” You could listen without comment, nodding with a few affirmative sounds.
You might be able to give her the strokes she wants, like petting your cat, and after a few minutes, excuse yourself with a kind comment: “You will manage to work this out.”
Granting your own wish can often be accomplished by changing how you perceive the circumstances. Instead of whining, find a bit of appreciation and give yourself that stroke of compassion.
And then there are those who see with clarity exactly what you need to make your life more bearable – like a certain husband of mine who brought my best friend and fairy godmother to me when I could not go to her. I did not see clearly that her visit would make me happier than any other birthday present ever conceived. In this instance it was a wish come true and a meeting of spirits who could truly meld into a wonderful experience. Knowing his love and concern for me without my asking for a thing has made this winter more bearable and the darkness that usually surrounds me in winter seems less tangible and visible. What I see is love, care, friendship and reaching out as well as more love than this one heart can hold…
See what a difference perspective makes? Opening to new perspectives and turning away from the past is the best way to improve your life. It’s working for me.
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