How we view the world is critical to our productivity, our relationship with our children and family members, and our ability to impact society.
Certainly, life experiences can impact our view.
Take my mother, for example. Her name is Joan and two years after she lost her husband, my father, in 1995, she was struck down by bacterial meningitis. When she miraculously woke up after being in a long coma, she had lost vital bodily functions: her hearing, a great deal of her vision, and her balance. Of course, she also lost her job with the State of California.
At that time, Joan was 66 years old. Many people would have sunk into a deep depression. After all, you can’t hear your kids anymore, so all conversations are slowed to laborious lip-reading. After all, you can’t ride a bicycle, drive a car, take a spin class, or walk without a walker. After all, you can’t read a book or newspaper easily and all movies must now have subtitles. Amazingly, Joan’s view of her life continued to expand, not contract.
Today, instead of complaining, Joan chooses to focus on what she has, not what she has lost. Since her recovery, she has taken up boxing (for her balance), e-mailing (for communication), and traveling (to Arizona). In short, despite great loss and change, Joan has been a role model not only for her four adult children, but also for hundreds of others who are reminded by her presence of their own blessings of personal freedom and bodily health.
As you know, I have been teaching adolescents for 37 years. I also work with many young people in their twenties. They are all trying to find their places in their families, among their friends, and in society. We all are. We are all somewhat self-consumed, aren’t we?
*How many times have we been to a funeral and left with a new deliberation to make the most of the time we have left on this Earth, only to fall back into our personal frustrations the next day?
*How many times have we heard a motivational speaker and vowed to do more for others less fortunate, only to slide into our own Narcissistic pool?
*How many times do we complain when we ought to be grateful?
Reminding ourselves and our kids not to complain is important. But how do we leave this habit behind?
+Well, when I was growing up (and boy, could I complain), my dad would just yell at us and bark, “Quit complaining!!!”
+My husband simply doesn’t complain; he just gets what needs to be done, done.
+I suppose there are a myriad of strategies we can implement to focus more on the good and less on the bad, more on gratitude and less on complaint.
I know Joan has mastered this Art of Living.