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You experience what you focus on

Yesterday’s post was a bit heavy. Today’s is much more on the lighter side :-).

Here is a story that I think I picked up, a few years back, in one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

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Little Timmy was a little different than other children. He just didn’t quite fit in. He was a bit slower than his playmates and had trouble remembering things. At school he was rarely included by the other children in their play. No invitations came to classmates’ birthday parties. Nevertheless, Timmy was, by and large, a very content and happy child.

Shortly before Valentine’s Day one year, Timmy asked his parents if he could buy and give Valentine’s cards to each of his classmates. They agreed and helped him pick out the cards. At home Timmy painstakingly took time to write a short, positive message in each card.

When Valentine’s Day finally came, Timmy was very excited and woke up before usual so that he could arrive early enough at school to deliver the cards to everyone.

Timmy’s parents were concerned about how things would go with Timmy at school that day. They knew that on previous Valentine’s days, Timmy had received very few Valentine’s Day cards himself. They were worried if this were the caser this year, he might be very disappointed. Therefore, they decided to come home early from work that day and make one of Timmy’s favorite treats.

They stood at the window at around the time Timmy usually came home and could hear him talking to himself as he approached the house. “Not one. Not a single one.” Timmy’s parent’s hearts broke. They looked at each other, smiled weakly and braced themselves for a crushed little boy. Instead, Timmy burst into the house with a huge smile on his face. He happily reported to them, “Not a single one. I didn’t forget a single one!

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Timmy’s focus was not on what he received that Valentine’s Day, but rather, on what he gave to others. When he accomplished that task he was ecstatic. By focusing on others he experienced joy. Had he only focused on himself, I’m not sure he would have experienced the same thing.

It helps me to think of little Timmy at times when I’m feeling sorry for myself when I haven’t gotten all the good things I feel that I deserve. By turning my focus away from myself and onto what I can contribute to others, I notice that my attitude often improves.

Remember little Timmy :-).

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