I’ve been reading about gratitude again because that’s the topic of the second book in the Positive Psychology News Daily series. We’ve selected more than twenty articles. We’ve started editing. Kevin Gillespie has started drawing pictures. We’ll have it ready by Thanksgiving at the latest (cross fingers).
Earlier I posted my notes for the talk on gratitude that I gave to a Sunday School class at a local church. In particular, borrowing from some of the experts in the field, I wrote:
Cultivating Gratitude involves…
1) Acknowledging good things that happen – major and minor. Be mindful of present benefits; enhance the ability to remember positive events.
2) Recognizing the sources of goodness that are outside us. Much goodness happens to us independent of our own actions. What if we said, “Why me?” when good things happen to us?
But what if we also kept in mind gratitude that we owe our former selves?
Just to show what I mean, here are some of the things for which I can thank Kathie Sugg (baby name), Kathy Heninger (after adoption by step-father), Kathryn Heninger (chosen name at college), and even Kathryn Heninger Britton, looking back over the years.
I thank you, Kathie, for the picture of you holding your father’s thumb when you were tiny. That picture has created a strong sense of connection to my father who died when I was about 2 years old. It’s actually the only picture I have with both of us in it.
I thank you, Kathy, for your love of reading. You filled my head with stories of people I admire. These stories often return to me when I feel challenged. These stories remind me of duty cheerfully performed, of self-sacrifice, of courage in the face of fear, of taking the long view, of the impact of love on life.
I thank you Kathie, Kathy, Kathryn for building friendships all along the way. I have close friends from early childhood, from high school, from college from graduate school, work, child rearing and graduate school again. Thank you for being so curious about people and for exchanging the words and deeds that made lasting bonds.Thank you for the adventures you’ve had with friends — such as the trip to Bora Bora with friend Pam to stay on friend Sue’s catamaran, making new friends of Sue’s family.
I thank you, Kathryn, for always finding something to do with your life while you tried to figured out what you wanted to DO with your life. Yes, it took about 30 years for you to find a vocation that is also an avocation. But in the meantime, you gained experience with a lot of different people, different technologies, and different business considerations.
Thank you for taking care of my body, so that I enjoy good health now in spite of 30 years with Type 1 diabetes. I know it wasn’t easy.I also thank you for finding Edward Britton to marry and then for building up more than 30 years of shared experience with him. I don’t think you understood that marriage at my age would be even more rewarding than it was at yours. Thank both our earlier selves for all the little acts of warmth and appreciation that must have added up to more than 5-to-1 one positivity ratio between us — but who’s counting?
Thank you, also, for deciding to have children, one of life’s greatest adventures.
And so on. Who would I be if it hadn’t been for you?