Wednesday, April 8, 2015
G is for Gratitude
I've written a great deal about gratitude because it's a concept that's important to me.
After a rough break up in 2009, I was hit with the realization that things happen for me, not to me. That's when I started a regular gratitude practice and began to notice a huge shift in my quality of life.
Being grateful is not about being happy every single second of every day. It's not about glossing over undesirable situations. It's about seeing beyond what's right in front of you, to see the big picture.
Terrible things happen in life. Sometimes I make poor choices. Having a gratitude practice doesn't change any of that. I still have days where I am down in the dumps. Since 2009, I have dealt with grief, heartbreak, regret, anger, frustration and illness. But in each of those situations, when I'm finished crying and feeling sorry for myself, I can wipe my snotty nose and say "Okay, well I'm grateful I'm alive." For me, it's about being able to deal with the death of my sweet dog by being grateful he didn't suffer through a long illness or dealing with my brain injury by being grateful it wasn't worse, being grateful I had loved ones to care for me.
Each day, I write down at least three things I am grateful for that day. Sometimes they're deep thoughts and sometimes not so much. Some days I'm grateful for the love and support that is in my life, for kindness and acceptance. Other days it's chapstick, white wine and a good book. All of those things are important in their own way!
Making my gratitude lists has helped me evaluate my priorities in my life. It points out what's important in day to day life and that can come in handy when I need to make decisions about work.
Here's my advice: Just start saying it every day, "I am grateful." Back in 2009, I put a sticky note on my bathroom mirror with those those exact words written on it. Stand in front of your mirror, look at yourself and say "I am grateful," even if you don't believe it. Because the funny thing is, after a while you will start to believe it. To believe it and to know it and to see it all around you.