At last! The house is quiet, the kids are in bed, and you’ve finally got a few minutes to polish off the project you need to finish for tomorrow’s meeting.
Rinnnggg…. You answer. It’s your sister, desperate to talk about his current crisis, the latest in a long string of dramas. You clench your teeth, tension hits your chest, and there’s no mistaking it – a double-whammy of annoyance leaks through your voice. You’re annoyed at your sister but even more at yourself for picking up the phone.
What are you experiencing? Resistance. You push back against the intrusion, the diversion from your wants and needs. You want to finish your work. Yet you answered the call.
How do you react to this kind of annoyance? Is it possible to be grateful? To stop and say, “Thank you for letting this happen?”
We might be grateful to have a sister, to have her trust, to have a connection with her, for the opportunity to serve her, and for a chance to put our own life in perspective. We might be grateful for a few more minutes to procrastinate – or even learn some hard truths about our role in our sister’s life.
We can be grateful for the technology that lets us connect. We can be grateful to stand in our cozy kitchen on a cold in November night, feeling the smooth tile beneath our feet, the hum of the refrigerator, the security of a warm home, the clear view through a window of a starry winter sky.
Enter the power of gratitude. It detoxifies anger, reduces tension, lifts depression, increases resiliency, and connects you to your true self. It teaches us that we cannot control life. With gratitude, we trust what life brings and value each moment.
Expressing gratitude opens the door to empowerment. Freed of annoyance, you can be present to participate in the conversation, even be reenergized by it. Being grateful counters our tendency to seek comfort and stay with the familiar. It reminds us where we need to grow and points us in the right direction.
We need only allow it.