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Thomas Maples

Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some. (Charles Dickens)

Today is the first day of a grand experiment. As a psychotherapist, I have long assisted individuals alleviate the misfortunes from which they suffer. However, being exposed to the countertransference phenomenon, I now realize that the more I focused on the suffering of others, the less blessings I found I could count on in my own life. I had been trained to see the misfortunes of others, but failed to take into account the other side of the paradox, and see the blessings present. It was simple to see the bad without the good, the symptoms without the health possible, and slip into the quagmire of pessimism so common to a countertransference response. But today, I will change this phenomenon, start to focus on the blessings I have present, so that I can enact sincere gratitude in the journey of life I have been afforded.

Like many individuals, Super Bowl Monday came too early. As with any celebration of life, there is a let down when the celebration ends and responsibilities begin anew. But today, the attitude was different. It was not a Monday to get through, but a Monday to find out that for which I am grateful.

Today, I was taken aback when my son was moved to tears of happiness when he found out his hero also had dyslexia. He was excited, and the look on his face told a story that 1000 words could not explain. He now belonged, and he was going to be OK.  Dyslexia or not, he saw someone that he looked up to who had overcome its grasp, and find success in helping others. He may have had dyslexia, but dyslexia did not have him.

Later on, in an act of gratitude for his brother, who forgot his Bear Bear at grandma’s house, my oldest son gave his younger brother his Mimi Bear for the night to keep him company and to help him dry up the tears.

As I have put my son’s to sleep on this date, I realized multiple areas of gratitude filling my heart. I see that my development as an adult is intimately linked to the lessons my children teach me. For my youngest son, I am grateful that he continues to teach me patience. He showed me the true power of gratitude, with the look on his face when his older brother came to his rescue despite the sibling dynamics so common with any set of brothers. For my oldest son, I am grateful to see the perseverance possible when someone understands they are not alone in their journey. He learned today that others have traversed a similar path, were able to overcome difficulties, and even help others through the methods they developed to overcome personal shortcomings.. For both, I am grateful for the lesson taught through the experience of putting them to bed tonight. Through gratitude, everyone was able to go to bed with sweet dreams, and less stress because of a random act of sincere kindness. I am grateful for them having taught me what it means to be a loving father, and their willingness to let me take part in their developmental journey, even when some of the journey can be rocky and with stress. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

What are you grateful for today?

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