Thursday, February 10, 2011
Yesterday, I was inspired by the story of a friend who had been through some very difficult times in his life. He escaped from Denmark after the Nazi's invaded his home country. He lost a son to a boating accident 25 years ago. His daughter-in-law has survived for 7 years with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. And, he is being treated for metastatic cancer.
Despite these difficulties, he says that he feels "lucky" and "fortunate." He is filled with gratitude for his life and is focused on how he can help others.
The quality I see in this friend is resilience. Despite being knocked down by the blows life has dealt him, he remains steadfast and positive. He doesn't give in to self-pity or depression. Even though his initial reaction to these tragedies was deep sadness, he bounced back from each difficulty.
My suspicion is that the source of his resilience is his deep gratitude for life. Gratitude is the foundation of resilience. If we can understand how we are blessed, even in the midst of challenging circumstances, we will find the inner strength and fortitude to survive and even thrive.
As I said, I have been inspired by my friend. So, each morning I'm reflecting on what I'm grateful for. I'm making a list and adding to it each day. To begin each day by giving thanks for even one thing can make the rest of the day go better. When we strengthen our sense of gratitude, we also strengthen our resilience when difficult times come-- and they always do.