Autism Treatment Center of America®

  • I_want_son
  • I_want_child
  • I_want_daughters
  • I_want_son_2

Happiness Is A Choice

Chapter II

Creating a Personal Vision to Live By

The eye sees what it brings to seeing.
Shelley

A fifty-six-year-old man, married with children and grandchildren, viewed himself as a realistic, no-nonsense person, definitely not the romantic or sentimental type. His verbal communication tended to be gruff and blunt, delivered always without any sugar coating. He withheld more than he shared. If he described a person or an event as "nice", he had given it his highest compliment. No one would ever accuse him of being exuberant. His childhood had been dominated by strict, sometimes abusive parents. When they hit him or punished him, they said they did it because they loved him. He came to hate the word "love" and never used it, not once, throughout his adult years. During a break in an afternoon class, he shared with me a discovery he had made.

"I always thought love meant pain," he said. "Maybe that's not so, Bears. Today, I watched people in class use that word in many ways. Unhappily. Happily. Then I realized, hey, it's just a word. That's all. My parents gave it one meaning, but, me, well, I could give it another. I kept thinking, yeah, I could even get to like that word."

When class resumed, he asked to share his revelation with the other program participants. Then he turned to his wife, who had attended the seminar with him. He reached out and took her hand in an uncharacteristically graceful and tender gesture. He smiled as his bottom lip quivered and then, in a soft, sweet voice, said, "I love you." Tears filled his wife's eyes. In thirty-six years of marriage, she had never heard him say those words.

We can change. We can be different We can defy history. Our past is but a memory dragged into the present moment That moment is no more important or significant than the next. And in the next moment we can change it all. We do it by changing our point of view ... by changing our beliefs, as the man above did, and the woman below.

Chapter 2 Continued