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Publication: Fifty & Furthermore
More on Gratitude

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FIFTY & FURTHERMORE - Thursday, November 30, 2006

"I'm Dr. Dorree Lynn, founder of FiftyandFurthermore.com. 
Growing older can be a time for creative and passionate 
living, and I will apply my years as a psychologist to help 
you with the challenges and wonders that come with this new 
life stage."
------------------------------------------------------------

Hello and welcome to FIFTY & FURTHERMORE! 

Today's issue elaborates on the concept of gratitude. If you 
would like to make a comment or ask me a question, please 
email me at the address below and as always, I will do all I 
can to provide you with the advice you seek.

As I always say, "life is too hard to do alone - reach out!"

Dr. Dorree Lynn, Psychologist


Please send questions and comments to: email Dr. Lynn

Question:

I am one of those "Fifty and Furthermores."  Thanks so much 
for writing about two of my favorite topics:  gratitude and 
forgiveness.  I have been a member of a 12-step recovery 
program for over 10 years now, and the one thing that has 
been a constant in my life has been my gratitude.  I began 
to feel grateful the very first day I stayed sober for a 
24-hour period (and it was on a 4th of July, a day typically 
drowning in liquor), and gratitude has been a foundation for 
my life since that time.  I am known by my friends as the 
"Energizer Bunny - stiiiillll graaaaaateful."  I have found 
that no matter what life has to offer, if I stay in an at-
titude of gratitude, I can pretty much deal with anything. 
The main thing that helped me the most when my husband left 
me a couple of years prior to my 50th birthday, after 16 
years of marriage, was writing a gratitude list every night 
which consisted of at least 5 things for which I was 
grateful. Some days the list consisted of very simple things 
like "grateful this day has finally ended," and "grateful 
I had enough to eat today," and "grateful I got out of bed 
today."  On other days, my list consisted of amazing things 
like "grateful that I am able to shovel the snow and enjoy 
the quiet hush that the blanket of snow on the ground pro-
vides," and "grateful that I can travel to a foreign country, 
by myself, and not be afraid of asking for directions or 
help."
 
Staying in an attitude of gratitude is what allowed me to 
finally to come to a place of forgiveness toward my now ex-
husband.  I realized that in order to stay in a place of 
gratitude, I had to let go of that burdensome resentment 
and anger.  It weighed me down spiritually and emotionally, 
and I realized that gratitude and anger/resentment could 
not reside in the same place in my soul.  If I was vigilant 
in searching daily and finding things for which to be 
grateful, I actually did not have much time left over to go 
to that place of anger/resentment.  I just could not stay 
"grateful" and be angry at the same time.  Most of the time, 
gratitude won, hands down.  It takes very little energy to 
remain grateful, whereas staying angry or resentful just 
took too much out of me.  I found that I could be grateful 
and still have plenty of energy left over for participating 
in my life and all the things it had to offer.
 
My ex has now been gone for 4 years, and I'm grateful.
 
Gratitude can be a state of mind, an emotion, an attitude, 
a condition of the soul, a prayer (if you will).  I find 
that after writing in my gratitude journal, I feel as if 
I've just taken a very deep breath and released it ever 
so slowly.  A feeling of peace always comes over me while 
I'm "journaling my gratitudes."
 
Thanks for letting me share.

Answer:

It takes so much more energy to remain hostile than it 
does to forgive. If someone has wronged us, the best 
revenge we can get is to not let it stress us out for 
years to come. I commend you for internalizing the con-
cepts of forgiveness and gratitude and sticking with 
them even when life threw you curves. A gratitude journal 
is a wonderful idea and I encourage my other readers to 
try it out and hopefully feel as peaceful as you do. I 
thank you so much for sharing your positive story and I 
hope the holidays find you having even more to be thankful 
for.

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Question:

I am a 68 year old woman. 8 years ago I got into a huge 
fight with my daughter, said some awful things and she 
stopped talking to me. It was my fault and even though I 
apologized over and over and begged her to forgive me, the 
silence continues.  I live in California and she in New 
Jersey so it's not like I can just go over there and knock 
down the door. There isn't a day now that goes by that I 
don't regret what happened and hope she's okay, but it's 
always even worse around the holidays. You wrote about for-
giveness, but how do you get someone else to forgive YOU? 
I don't want to think she is out of my life forever.

Answer:

You sadly cannot force your daughter to forgive you, but 
you CAN agree to forgive yourself. It has been eight years 
and you have tried to make things right. You have done all 
you can and beating yourself up for your actions is not 
going to make things any better; it will only bring you 
down further. If you daughter has any children, I would 
continue to send them cards or gifts in the mail so that 
they grow up feeling the love of their grandmother and can 
hopefully make their own decision when they are older as 
to your role in their lives. I also urge you to reach out 
to your other family members, your friends and your com-
munity. There is nothing better for the soul than giving 
to others, especially around the holidays. The opportunities 
to volunteer helping others are endless and doing so will 
not only brighten their day but hopefully help you to be 
able to show others the love you wish to show to your 
daughter. Of course continue to let your daughter know that 
your arms are open if/when she is ready to forgive you, but 
in the meantime, it's time to direct your energy toward 
others less fortunate and forgiving yourself in the process.

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With holiday music playing in every store and huge sales at 
the malls, it can only mean one thing: it's gift-giving 
season! Since it seems so much of what I see in the stores 
nowadays is geared toward the youth (new video game systems, 
iPods, size zero clothing), I'd love to find out what it is 
FiftyandFurthermores really want to unwrap. So I ask my 
readers: What do you want for the holidays? What are some 
of the best presents you have received in the past? Given? 
I can't wait to hear your responses! ~Dr. D


------------------------------------------------------------
     For more insight and advice from Dr. Lynn visit: 
            http://www.fiftyandfurthermore.com
------------------------------------------------------------

          GopherCentral's Question of the Week: 

Do you think "Kramer's" recent racist comments will kill his 
career?

 Please share your opinion, visit: The Question of the Week

------------------------------------------------------------

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