Counselor's Corner: The freedom of being grateful and positive

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By Fred Cavaiani

Gratitude opens the heart. Being affirming and positive helps create an inner peace. When a person becomes critical and condemning toward others, the ability to experience love and goodness starts diminishing. The more negative I become, the more miserable I will become. Emotional and spiritual benefits pour into us when we become grateful for what we have and when we speak and act in a positive manner.

Happiness takes place only in this present moment. The more I anticipate what will bring me happiness, the more I forget about being grateful in this moment. When I talk negatively, I block my awareness of embracing and experiencing goodness.

I have discovered that the more I speak to other people in a kind and loving manner, the better I feel. It may be the person who hands me the food as I stop at a drive-through restaurant. It might be the checkout person at Target or Kroger. When I am cheerful, kind and affirming in my conversation I make my day better and I believe that I make the other person’s day better.

The other day I was in a store waiting in the checkout line. The lady ahead of me needed help with her credit card. The cashier was very helpful and patiently worked with this elderly woman. I was next in line and waiting about twenty minutes for this helpful interchange to be over. At first, I was feeling frustrated. Then I said to myself: “Fred, you are not in a hurry to get anywhere right now. Be patient and kind.” So, I did that. At the end of this interchange the elderly woman thanked me for my patience. As the cashier checked me out with my few items, I affirmed her for her patience. As I left, I realized that three people had a loving and positive interaction which could have been a negative interaction if I would have complained or impatiently tried to find another cashier to check me out.

To be kind and affirming pours love into the world. To be grateful helps me to see goodness everywhere. It is only in living this present moment with a grateful and positive attitude that happiness and peace will be experienced.
This is a simple thought. But it can be often avoided.

I can make a choice to always remain grateful, positive and affirming in my words and in my thoughts.

No one else in the world has to change for me to be happy. But my grateful, loving and positive attitude might help someone else experience something positive and loving. The most disarming principle in life is to be grateful and loving. 

To live life without embracing negative thoughts and words brings an internal freedom. It also helps me to see goodness everywhere. Yet it can be so easy to speak negatively and think negatively. Negativity is not a good place to be. It creates tension in the body and puts me into a narrow viewpoint of life. When I am critical and condemning, I block myself from experiencing and seeing goodness.

I have noticed that when I talk with my grandchildren and listen to them carefully there is such joy and peace in our conversations. It is because I have to stop, and listen carefully to what they are saying and get on their level of communication. It takes me out of myself and helps me to see the love and goodness in each of them. I am always inspired when my wife talks to the grandchildren. She can get on their level so quickly and so the loving dialogue begins.

Maybe life is really meant to be a loving dialogue with everyone and everything. Life is meant to be a positive experience of gratefulness and love. I can empathize with the pain of other people and sit alongside of hurting people with love and compassion. But in doing this, I can still be loving, affirming and compassionate.

Everyone needs affirmation, love and compassion. Everyone needs to feel an attitude of gratitude.  As the years pass by, I see more clearly the uselessness of negativity. But I can see more clearly the wonderful benefits of gratitude and positivity. There is always goodness to be experienced. I can choose to be always loving and positive. I can choose to be always empathic and compassionate. In making these choices I am convinced that I experience a loving God who is always there in a loving manner toward everyone. There is great freedom in being loving and positive.

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Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: Fredcavi@yahoo.com and his website is fredthecounselor.com.




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