James was a lonely man. Oh, he had a good job. He wrote computer code, he had job security, benefits, a retirement fund. He also lived alone. He didn't want to be lonely. He tried on-line dating, but the women he tried to talk with would eventually tire of him and stop communicating with him. He rode the bus to work and nobody talked with him. When he got to work, nobody talked to him or went to lunch with him. He was getting desperate to make friends.
His manager at work encouraged him to use the counseling service provided through the company. It didn't cost any money, so James decided to try it. At his first session, he was a bit uncomfortable, but the therapist was nice enough, so he shared a little information about himself. At the second session, he decided to share more information. He told the therapist about his abusive childhood and how his dad would yell at him and hit him. The therapist was a good listener. At the next session, James shared how the bus driver snapped at him and nobody at the office talked with him.
He was looking forward to the next session to tell the therapist how the whole world was against him. He showed up to the next session and his therapist had made him cookies. He put them aside as he launched into his tales of how the whole world had treated him terrible all week. The therapist listened for a few minutes then asked him if there was any kind words or deeds done to him all week. He quickly said no as he went on to ruminate the terrible things done to him. Again, the therapist stopped him to ask him if he was sure no kind thing was done to him all week. He didn't even think on it as he said no. She asked him about the cookies, ‘ Aren't they a kind thing? You didn't even say thank you for them.’
He stopped his thoughts as he contemplated what she said. This was a kind thing and it hadn't even occurred to him. He had to then wonder if any other kind things had happened to him that he had over looked. The therapist asked him to change his perspective during the week, and instead of focusing on the negative that happened, to instead focus on the positive. She encouraged him to write down one positive thing a day that someone said or did to him.
James learned that by changing his perspective, he could change his life.