A Simple Shift That Can Transform Your Attitude
Tennis star Author Ashe contracted AIDS in 1983 from a blood transfusion he received while undergoing heart surgery. He did not become bitter, but lived out his Christian faith by helping others and doing good. He said, “I ask God to show me His will and to give me strength to carry out that will.” He was only 49 when he passed away.
People sometimes asked him how he was able to maintain a grateful attitude. They wanted to know if he ever felt bitter or self-pitying about having contracted a fatal disease. He explained, “I never ask ‘Why me?’ in the face of my diseases. If I asked, ‘Why me?’ as I am assaulted with heart disease and AIDS, I would have to ask, ‘Why me?’ about my blessings. Why my winning Wimbledon? Why my marrying a beautiful gifted woman and having a wonderful child?”
Whenever something unpleasant or unfortunate occurs we are presented with a choice. We can complain (which would be the natural response) or we can practice gratitude, which transforms our attitude and helps us cope.
Feeling grateful doesn’t mean that you deny that an event was unpleasant. For example, if you slipped and sprained your ankle while hiking, you shouldn’t try to force yourself to be glad about the accident. However, you could be grateful that you didn’t break any bones. Gratitude helps you to reframe negative events so that you see them in a more positive way. Learning to do this on a regular basis will truly transform our life.