Monday, November 29, 2010

SPIRIT: When I Didn't Want to Give Thanks

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There are people in my life who have wounded me, infuriated me, and rejected me.  Surprisingly, these same people end up on my "thank you" list. 

One year, I decided to write thank you cards for Thanksgiving.  Of course, I wrote to the obvious people:  the teacher who helped me through a very difficult time; my best friends who have laughed and cried with me; and others like my parents, who have always been kind, loving, and generous.  These were nice acknowledgments to amazing people, people to whom I have expressed my gratitude often.

There was a second group of people I wrote to:  those who had hurt me in one way or another. 

One card was to a teacher who, in front of my whole class, told me I would "never amount to anything"  and how I had "let the whole class down."  Even after my tears had dried, my resentment lingered for years.  This memory embodied her in my mind and I forgot all she taught me.  She inspired me to succeed and publicly recognized my achievements.

Writing her a thank you note healed any bitterness her public berating caused me.  I thanked her for all the valuable things she taught me and how she helped me.

This simple act of gratitude erased the pain this one event caused me and instead appreciated all the good she had done in my life.

There were several other recipients who I forgave through writing my indebtedness, though I never mentioned the hurt they caused.  In addition to giving each person a reminder of how he or she had contributed to my life, I also grew more grateful.   I remembered how infinitely valuable each person is.

Is there anyone who has hurt you, who you have thanked later?  

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