One Resolution to Rule Them All

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It’s a Keith Karabin Christmas
Peace on Earth and peace of mind
With peace left over to write a piece online.

Bob Searles,
“It’s a Keith Karabin Christmas”

 

I had two really big Christmas surprises this year.

I was recognized at the hospital for the work that I do with the kids. I would gladly continue this work regardless of recognition—I have already and will continue to—because I am honored to do so and they are the most worthy bunch of teens you’ll ever have the joy of meeting.

If that weren’t enough; I had a Christmas song written about this website and my family Christmas. During the interview process for the last article, Bob Searles, writer of the theme song for the WPRB 24 Hour Christmas Eve Marathon, went Judo on me and flipped it; he interviewed me, too. He said he’d been inspired by the other Marathon articles featured here and the site itself and felt that my view of Christmas merited a song of its own. Again, this is work I would lovingly and lastingly continue regardless, but I was floored by Bob’s esteem and the awesome song that he wrote.

In quite typical holiday fashion, reflecting on both of those Christmas miracles brings us to New Year’s Eve and the New Year’s Resolution that you may have made on Tuesday night.

Do you already hate your Resolution? Already broke it? Already not care? Did you know it was un-keepable even as you were making it because you’ve broken it every year? Great! I give you full permission to ditch it and replace it with the One Resolution that Rules them all. Or, to sound less like Tolkien, this is the one resolution that—if you keep it—you can improve any behavior or attitude and that of those around you.

 

But Didn’t we do That in November?

 

gratitude-and-abundanceI was feeling many things standing in front of my co-workers, being recognized our new CEO—fear, shock, you-got-the-wrong-guy-ness, but most of all I was feeling a humble reciprocal gratitude. They were thanking me for the work I did and I—though floored and self deprecating—responded only with “thank you, I’m gonna do better still because you noticed.” I still feel the power and truth of that to the core of me.

To Live Gratefully, that is the resolution which will truly improve your life. This is what I realized in that moment and throughout this Holiday Season, with its many listenings of “Keith Karabin Christmas.” I live humbled and grateful to you, dear readers and e-friends in this thing that is KeithKarabin.com, so I try and give you my biweekly best. I’m grateful to Jon and WPRB, so I feature the Marathon. Those two things, unexpectedly, led to the penning of my new favorite Christmas tune. The result: More gratitude and more motivation. I try to give my best every day to my patients—because they deserve it and because I am honored and always thankful for the chance to share the good work at Foundations Behavioral Health, so they thank me. The result: (a huge blush, shuffling feet and) more gratitude and more motivation.

The gratitude I speak of is different than Thanksgiving gratitude. There’s nothing wrong with any kind of gratitude, but that is more of a passive, looking backward, gratitude. The New Year’s Resolution gratitude that I’m suggesting is an active, forward looking, living gratitude. Thanksgiving gratitude is like that “Ahh” feeling after the meal. Living gratefully is actually a satisfied feeling that has a touch of constant hunger for that next chance to put your thankfulness into action.

What can you do with that gratitude? Anything. For me it impacts my work, my writing and service here, my fatherhood, my son-hood, my role as a husband and a friend. It fuels my desire to be the best me that I can be, not for me, but because I am impacted, honored and seek to live up to this overwhelming blessing I have in my life as a psychotherapist, a writer, a father, a son and a friend. Active gratitude fuels my exercise routine, my eating regimen and my accountability to my health team’s plan. I’m not disciplined; I’m thankful that I have them in my like and don’t want to be a dumbass.

gratitudetattooIf you are drug, food, porn, gambling or alcohol addicted, the Anonymouses will tell you that gratitude will keep you sober; they’re right. If you’re in a difficult relationship, finding the reasons that the relationship blesses—or could bless—your life, and being actively grateful for them in relation to that person will improve the relationship. Truly, you can take any behavior and attitude that you want to change, show yourself how that issue taints something that you’re grateful for, and use that feeling to change it.

Gratitude is hard-core. It takes courage and guts to stand up to a negative pattern in ourselves, or that we see around us and fight back. It takes even greater guts to stand up in arrogance or righteousness—as we see most often—but with humility and gratitude. It takes the greatest guts to let that “standing up” be fueled not by our own greatness, but by our thanks for the blessings of others.

 

The “Grate-est” Thing

 

Here’s the “grate-est” thing that I’ve learned about living gratefully; other people’s negative responses don’t matter but their positive ones will fuel even greater improvement.

Peace-+-Gratitude-543x361It doesn’t matter if the boss never notices or that your co-workers think you’re Ms. Bright Side who never curses—that doesn’t touch a personal thankfulness for your chance to do the job that you do, and your resulting personal commitment to do your best. The fact that your spouse takes you for granted needs to be addressed lovingly but it needn’t to impact your gratitude for the many wonderful things that partnership with them has brought you. Showing real, patient, humble gratitude to you children—especially the distant, angry or hurt ones, will make that breakthrough over time, no matter what their initial reaction. Always, if you are of the bent, gratitude to God is key to living the life you were given when faced with trial.

Please contact me if you can but I couldn’t brainstorm a single moment when another person’s response or life event merited a true decrease in personal gratitude. Further, reciprocal gratitude actions increase when there’s a positive response to them. Thus, if you’re thanked for doing well—or you thank others—you increase gratitude actions and pass along the feeling to others.

Active gratitude is unstoppable, but it does need to be practiced, especially in negative environments and life events or with negative people. The simplest way to do so is to remember this witty saying: If you want great moments, find “grate” reasons every moment. Grateful moments make great moments. Challenge yourself to find as many as you can, especially in difficult moments, but be ever thankful.

I’m ever thankful to you this year. You, reading these words. The site continues to grow, the message that everyone can live a great life is being heard, and you are much more a key to that than I am. So, thank you deeply, every time you read, pass on, or even think about these articles in daily life.

There’s my gratitude to you. What you do with it is in your hands. Remember, it has the power to rule.

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Shortly after the last bell rings
And all the angels have gotten their wings
Keith and Suzanne and Illyana
Will hug each other and sing

 It’s a Keith Karabin Christmas
Jews and Gentiles form a big boss line
And side by side the Menorah and the pine tree shine

 It’s a Keith Karabin Christmas
Peace on Earth and peace of mind
With peace left over to write a piece online.

Bob Searles,
“It’s a Keith Karabin Christmas”

(Thanks Bob.)

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