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Finding the gift

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This is a simple exercise designed by my Life Coach Maia Berens to help you to see the gift in every life situation. I was reminded of it by a post that Lin Lin wrote - all her posts are so positive and eloquent, and I thought I'd show you all how we can aspire to be like her!


Take a sheet of paper and draw lines to make three columns.

In the middle column write your CURRENT PICTURE in 3 sentences or less. The CURRENT PICTURE can be a situation in the present or something from the past that still has a negative charge. Choose something that still elicits a negative emotional reaction when you think of it, or when you are in the presence of that person or situation.

Next write four or five negatives about the situation in the left hand column.

After you complete that list, on the right list four or five things you learned and/or "gifts" you received from the situation. A gift may be an actual object, but, most likely, it will be an unexpected benefit or something you’ve learned about yourself or life. The number of negatives and learning gifts may or may not be equal and they aren't the opposite of each other. For example when I hated the heat in Las Vegas, the opposite was not true - that I found a way to love it. If you are having trouble finding any gifts or positives in the situation, ask yourself, “If I did learn anything from this, what would it have been (or be)?” Sometimes phrasing things in this way “tricks” your denial system into allowing you to see what was previously hidden.

At this point in the process when you have completed those previous three parts, you will be trying to take the negative view you once held and transform it into a more positive one. That is called the NEW PICTURE. You will take a moment to recap your learning now and let more emerge in the ensuing hours, days or months. Go back and write it down whenever more learning surfaces.

It really helps and you can do it for any difficult situation that arises in your life. I know the power of positive thinking as my mother was always telling me "Think positive Jennifer" as I was growing up. When she had her stroke aged 74 she was bedridden, paralysed, couldn't speak - and yet she just kept on being positive and after less than a year she was allowed home. At first she had nurses etc to help her wash and dress, and a home help and cleaner etc. Now, she just has a cleaner in once a week and a home help who does the ironing and takes her shopping. She is 79 and I have never known anyone as positive as her. Except maybe Lin Lin!!

Hope you don't mind a bit of mumbo jumbo..... :D

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Evening Jen!

I loved that!!! Thanks for sharing the exercise. I'm going to do this after I'm finished on-line tonight. I've always believed in the power of positive thinking - sometimes we get down in the dumps or are depressed and it's hard to be positive, but this exercise does re-train the brain to think and respond differently!!! :biggrin: No mumbo jumbo here!

Sometimes I say affirmations (positive messages) even when I feel like . Eventually it does work. Fake it 'til you make it :lol:

Big hugs to you,


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I loved this too. I always ask myself (when a situation occur)--what is the lesson I'm supposed to learn from this? Because sure as not, if you don't learn the lesson, the universe will keep "teaching" it to you in other ways until you get it.

I like this exercise because it gives you a concrete way to arrive at the same place.


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Hi Jen

I love the idea of this. I do always try to think after difficult situations or events; why has this happened? What am I meant to have learnt from this?

I do believe that my SAH may have been a way to show me that I need to try harder to do something worthwhile in my life.

I will definitely try this exercise for a number of current pictures going on...

Thank you for posting this

Kel x

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Hi Jen

I completely agree with positive thinking. I'm such an optimist that I annoy my family at times but I've always been like that! I alway tell people that I'm a 'glass half full' type of person and I add that even if the glass was nearly empty at least I can have a little taste and if the glass was completely empty then it's ' a well that's not for me, there's something MUCH better around the corner!'.

But after my SAH I did have very low days and couldn't understand why I was feeling like that but eventually I understood my problem. I was always a 'it won't kill you, so just get on with it,' when faced with life's difficulties and I was aware that I would stop myself from this saying this mantra and it took sometime for me to allow myself to start saying it again.

Many years ago I remember watching Gloria Hunniford being interviewed about her life. She spoke about how she surrounds herself with postitive thinking people and how she slowly eased out anyone negative. She said that when you are with friends/family you should come away mostly feeling invigorated rather than mostly feeling exhausted. She then went on to say that that was one of the main reasons she divorced her first husband because he was such a negative thinking person. This switched on a little light bulb with me and I have always strived to surround myself with positive thinking people.

Jen I don't think it's mumbo jumbo but it can be hard work rewiring your thought processes but the rewards are worth it!

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