I came across a book called Everything I Need To Know I Learned from Other Women by BJ Gallagher and it has been an interesting and humorous read for me. I want to share a piece from its first chapter, especially around this thanksgiving season.
The mind is a mismatch detector. It always notices what’s’ wrong before it notices what is right. This isn’t all bad – it’s the way our brains are hardwired to ensure our safety and survival. Millions of years ago, if you came home to your cave and your few possessions were not as you had left them, you were instantly alerted to the threat of an intruder. Same thing today – when you notice something out of place, a warning signal goes off in your brain, sending you the message: “something’s wrong here…be alert!”
The problem is, too much of a good thing becomes a liability. Many of us have cultivated fault finding to a high art – noticing every little thing that could be better in each and every situation. We drive people around us crazy with it, and we induce a state of chronic dissatisfaction in ourselves.
My friend Kym taught me to make gratitude lists, to balance out the fault finding that naturally takes place in my mind. It is a way of retraining my brain and refocusing my attention on what’s right, rather than what’s wrong. Doing a gratitude list will pull me out of my critical mode almost instantly. It is also a good antidote to self-pity and depression.
Here are just some of the many things I’m grateful for:
• My good health
• Intelligence and creativity
• My growing, changing spiritual life
• Lovely weather…
• Healthy family members
• A reliable car…
• Friends who love me…
• Laughter and surprises
And so much more…
What are the things on your gratitude list?
‘Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it’ – Tallulah Bankhead, actress.