I found myself indulging in self-pity yesterday as I thought about the problems that we are experiencing with our hot water pipes. I find it amazing the power that our thoughts have over us when allowed to flow freely towards the negative. My negative thoughts have the ability to snowball until I have convinced myself that my circumstances compared to others are pretty dismal at that particular moment. I have to pay the heating guy and when will my Visa be paid off now? How will we pay for our vacation to Colorado this June? and the list gets longer.
I am usually able to begin to apply the cognitive behavioral concepts that I have learned through my years as a Social Worker and turn my thoughts from the negative to the positive. I found myself abruptly forced in that direction this morning when I opened the newspaper and found myself looking at a photograph of a Palestinian woman and her child sitting beside a mountain of concrete that they used to call home. All of a sudden my little heating problem did not seem so large.
Over the years I have taken to cutting out pictures from magazines and newspapers that show hardship and tacking them on my refrigerator. They are usually the kind of pictures that we want to turn away from. I tell myself that I am doing it for my children so that they can appreciate the circumstances that they were born into simply by chance and geography. In reality, those pictures are as much for me as for them.
I become frustrated when my children start in with the “I wants.” I tell them that they have so much compared to others. At the same time, however, I am convincing myself that I need the Swiffer Wet Jet to make my life easier. As I look at the picture of the Woman and her child I am reminded that I have only wants and no needs. I thank God for the reminder.