We Become What We Repeatedly Do!
Have you ever wondered how you can remain long-suffering, uncomplaining, patient, forbearing and accepting, when someone is being exceptionally difficult?
In the mid-20th century, pioneering Hungarian-Canadian Endocrinologist Dr Hans Selye (1907-1982) is credited with the expression, “the attitude of gratitude”.
Expressing gratitude means freely offering appreciation and thanks, especially when someone’s standards fall short of your own.
Expressing gratitude is one of the most emotionally stabilising practices for sustaining life-satisfaction.
Giving sincere thanks to people or for events dramatically improves mood by elevating feelings of optimism, joy, pleasure and enthusiasm.
The attitude of gratitude is also clinically proven to reduce bouts of depression ~ living too much in the past ~ and anxiety ~ living too much in the future ~ by welcoming each moment. Take a deep breath, hold for a moment, then release slowly and appreciate you are alive!
But, how do you accentuate the positive in the face of significant disagreement, even adversity?
Let’s go back a two thousand years and take a glimpse at what the ancient Roman and Greek Stoics believed.
Most of us fall foul of one or more of the following in-gratitude’s from time to time. If you succomb to any of them more than a couple times a month, choose ONE and focus on reversing it over the next 7-days by studying what the Stoic named in the bracket had to say about it.
Then choose the next one, then the next, until you have mastered your Attitude of Gratitude. I promise life will become more optimistic, more joyful, more pleasurable and more enthusiastic.
So, ask yourself:
- DO I talk more than I listen (Zeno)?
- DO I complain to other’s behind someone’s back (Marcus)?
- DO I go along just to get along (Agrippinus)?
- DO I neglect friendships (Seneca)?
- DO I boast about my successes (Epictetus)?
- DO I overindulge in eating or drinking (Musonius)?
- DO I avoid difficult people or events (Seneca)?
- DO I go on about business (Marcus)?
- DO I shun people who disagree with me (Seneca)?
- DO I conceal my true beliefs (Arius Didymus)?
- DO I identify with the things I own or the clothes I wear (Cato)?
- DO I put off what I could complete today (Seneca)?
- DO I sleep longer than I should (Marcus)?
- DO I waste time dreaming I am going to live for ever (all)?
The most important thing for sustaining good habits over bad ones, is to stop thinking so much about what you want to say and pay more attention to those around you.
Remember, you cannot always control what someone says or does, but you can always control your responses.
Musonius Rufus said, “in too many circumstances, we do not deal with our affairs in accordance with correct assumptions, but rather we follow thoughtless habit.” (underline added)
And Marcus Aurelius said, “learn to ask of all actions, ‘Why are they doing that?’ Starting with your own.” (underline added)
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Complicated IS Easy! Simple IS Hard!