Thankful or resentful? You choose

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First, a short introduction. Pat and I met in 1964 and have been married for 52-plus years. We have lived in the Medimont area for more than 40 years. We have two sons and five grandchildren. We have known for a long time that we live in Heaven on Earth. Recent family events and subsequent unconditional love and support shown by our community has etched in stone the realization we live in a very special place. We are all lucky, us humans who live in the Inland Pacific Northwest.

I have many topics related to life today on my mind. This time, I would like to focus on some basics that may help some of us smile just a little more. Smiles are good for many reasons. Most important, smiles are catching, just like frowns.

Recently The Press did a piece on thankfulness and the importance of being grateful. Thankfulness should be a chronic condition if at all possible. “Wow! I am awake and alive today!” ... “Whoa, what a great BM!” ... “So good to have a job!” ... “The car started!” ... “No left lane hoggers today!” ... “Roads are only wet, not iced!” and on and on.

The point is we take so much for granted every day that we should be overtly thankful for. Every hour of every day we can find some reason to be thankful but first we must try. It is a regular job, learning to be thankful. It does not come easy for many of us and for good reason. Our culture teaches us our worldview. Sometimes the teachers do not teach us well.

Thankful ... great! I’m in! But HOW? My life has been very chaotic and not centered!

The first thing we need to realize about thankfulness is that it cannot exist with resentment. If we have resentment we cannot be thankful. When I first heard this, I thought the resentment must be specific to the thankfulness, ie, same person or issue. NOT! ANY resentment will do it. Resentment will not allow thankfulness. So if we resent our past, our parents, neighbors, relatives, co-workers, partners, job, car, looks, education, roads, schools, police, taxes and so much more humans can dream up, FORGET THANKFULNESS. Thankfulness will be unreal and short-lived if we are also resentful.

So how can we stop the resentment? Practice will do it but we must WANT to give up resentment. We must want to let it go.

It has become clear to me over the years some of us do not want to be thankful and happy. Some of us are only happy when we gripe. Some of us thrive on negativity. The word “toxic” comes to mind. My words are for those who want to turn a bit more positive and smile more.

The first thing we must do is admit our resentment. Then we go to the Serenity Prayer: “Help me realize what I cannot change, then help me let it go.” What has happened in the past is gone and we have to learn to let go. Today is all we have. Our Eternal Now Moment is what life is about. Throw out the garbage as it only hurts us.

We should know the hater is the one getting hurt, not the one hated. Practice and more practice. If we go backward or forward in time to mess up today, we are on the wrong track.

I guess I am really talking about plain old positive attitude and taking one day at a time. Our life follows our attitude. We determine our attitude and most importantly, we can choose to change our attitude in one direction or another. Our direction is our decision when we are adults. Children pretty much get directed but in adulthood there is always a choice. Always remember the laws work both ways. If we practice resentment, life will be tougher.

I have much more boxed up inside, mostly about current events and automatic trigger words we use to hurt and divide ourselves. Thank you Cd’A Press.

• • •

Rick Harlow is a resident of Medimont.

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