“Give thanks in all things,” the Bible tells us. Well, I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty hard to do in the midst of pain, either physical or emotional pain. In my case, when I’m in emotional pain, I’m often in physical pain, too. And visa versa. That’s hard!
I’m remembering the struggles in my family that have hurt so badly. I’m remembering conflicts with lovers and girlfriends, and the ache of losing relationships, either temporarily or forever. How do I be grateful for all that?
Well, it’s not easy. But given some time to reflect on the issues and to look at my own dynamics, I learn how to love better.
I learn how to be more respectful of others, and how to allow them to be themselves, even when they wrongfully accuse me.
I learn how to be objective, even when they can’t see the speck in their own eye.
I learn how to be less emotionally reactive. I take time to breathe and center myself.
I learn how to love myself, even when others judge me.
I learn how to have a stronger sense of Self … the Authentic Self … my spirit.
I learn how to take responsibility for my own insensitive actions, and apologize.
I learn how to turn toward people who love me and understand who I really am, instead of trying to get everyone to like me.
I learn how to stand up for myself, and set boundaries for self-care.
I learn how to be empathetic instead of self-centered.
I learn that all of us have our issues, and we are all on this journey together.
I learn that I can love others unconditionally, and see the innocence inside of hurting people, because I have walked in their shoes.
I have been callous.
I have been attacking.
I have been shortsighted.
I have been naïve.
When I see my oneness with those who have harmed me, my entire emotional experience shifts to being peaceful.
I don’t condone unconscious or conscious harmful acts. It still hurts, especially when they are directed at me, and those I love. But I understand, and I forgive them. I forgive myself for my shortcomings.
I remember and FEEL Jesus’ great love for all of us.
No matter how tiny we play, no matter how puffed up we get, Jesus sees us for who we truly are. He sees our innocence. He sees our pain. He just loves us.
I aspire more and more to see with the eyes of Jesus.
I aspire more and more to feel with the heart of Jesus.
I am thankful, even in the hard times, because I am learning to love better. There’s no better gift than that. I am so thankful to be at this place in my life, having learned so many lessons that I can share with others … to make the world a better place.
Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving this day and every day!
Benita A. Esposito, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor