It was such a bad day that I thought the world was going to end. Well, not the whole world, but having just had my ego crushed, it felt like that. You know, it was one of those days that you overheard someone say you were a “bitch” or “nasty” or “insensitive” or any of those negative things no one likes to hear about themselves. It may even have been a face-to-face confrontation with someone letting you have it about some action or another that they didn’t like. Sometimes it is a really cruel and nasty letter. Usually, there is some truth and some untruth in any of these situations. Usually, it takes us by surprise when we hear that we didn’t behave as expected by the person or by society. Always, it hurts.
Often our hurt comes from an infidelity or breach of trust. Those times can often make us feel less of a person or lower our self esteem. We despair, we blame ourselves, we try to make it better, we weep, we wonder, and we pray that it will all go away and get better.
These times hurt us. Sometimes we can brush them off as a misunderstanding, but other times the hurt goes deeper and it may take days, weeks, or months for that deep gash to our heart to heal. Sometimes it never heals. Sometimes there is hurt so deep it just sits there in the corner of our heart and pokes its head out on occasion, but never really disappears entirely.
Many, many years ago, after experiencing one of those hurts, a wise, wise priest gave me a very good piece of advice. “Make yourself a “Gratitude” folder,”” he said. “And every time someone sends you a nice note, letter, or card that says you are wonderful, loved, appreciated, and cared for, put it in that folder. Then when you’re feeling low or down or wounded, get out that folder and read every piece in it.”
That advice changed my life! It made me a stronger person, able to weather the worst storm and come out the other side still feeling good about who I am and what I do. Sometimes I just read a few of those pieces when I put a new one in the folder. And, now I even have a “Gratitude” folder on my computer.
What do I do with those nasty letters? Hah, I throw them away! They aren’t worth re-reading or worth reopening an old scar. They are only worthy of being forgotten. Gratitude is much better and much, much more healing. Try it! It works!