We live in an affluent area of the world, in a peaceful place, and as lawyers we have the blessings of education and a privileged position in society. Individually we have each been helped and treated kindly at some time by someone. While we may acknowledge this on some level, we are not fully benefitting from the feeling of gratitude unless it finds expression in our daily lives. Gratitude. Just what are we talking about? It is more than being thankful, more than appreciating someone or something, more than a feeling and more than a good idea. Gratitude needs action to have any real meaning. It is a stance or predisposition to move in the world in an open, kind and generous way.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines gratitude as "readiness to show appreciation and to return kindness". Kindness is at the core of gratitude. The core idea behind lawyers helping lawyers is that we will be kind to each other, we will appreciate each other and we will show that kindness and appreciation in some real, tangible way.
The Lawyers Assistance Program promotes and supports lawyers helping lawyers. It is a concept based on gratitude in action. Others have helped us and in return we wish to pass that on and help others. This act of helping, done with the right attitude, generates its own reward. We help without expectation of anything from the person we are helping.
"A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labours of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the measure as I have received and am still receiving." - Albert Einstein
LAPBC invites you to reflect on those people who have helped you in the past and on your life's blessings and then ask, "How can I help someone? What kindness can I do for someone?" Try this as an experiment for a day, or two or three. As with any experiment, examine the results. Did it help when you made that phone call to a fellow barrister who's going through a rough patch? How do you feel?
Try another experiment. Pick a day and go to work holding at all times throughout the day that you are grateful to be able to do the work, grateful for everyone you come in contact with, your staff, your clients, your partners, other lawyers and judges and act accordingly-treat them with kindness. Once again, examine the results.
At LAPBC, we are privileged to work and meet with people who act generously and kindly. We know our profession to be full of such people. We need to act in this way more consciously, consistently and actively. We will all be the beneficiaries as the practice of law will be more fulfilling and the health and well-being of our members will be positively affected.