Today I want to talk about gratitude. I’m not talking about saying thank you when someone opens the door for you (that is just being polite). I’m talking about looking around at your life and truly appreciating all the ways you are blessed. I know this is a cliche, and #blessed sometimes makes me want to puke. But stick with me here.
Sometimes in the course of the day, I’ll find myself focusing on the ONE thing that is currently going wrong in my life. Like, UGH it is such a hassle when your car breaks down, isn’t it? Or I broke my stupid toe, god it hurts every.single.step. Or instead of focusing on the negatives, I’ll start paying more attention to what other people have that I don’t have. Scrolling through Facebook I’ll find myself saying “Didn’t they JUST go on vacation?” or “Yeah but I bet that new car came with a giant loan,” or the worst of the worst and universally applicable: “Must be nice.”
In moments like those, I have made a choice. I have made a choice to be envious, to be snarky, to be unhappy, unsatisfied, and full of self-pity and self-doubt.
The good news is that in the next moment – the VERY next moment – I can make a different choice. I can decide to stop my negative and snarky thought process, and turn inward. I can decide to focus on the things I do have – today. The things that are going marvelous – and boy are there a lot of them. My husband and doggo are wonderful. Great job, lovely family and friends.
If it’s hard for you to do this, don’t worry. It takes practice. Gratitude is a muscle that needs to be developed. It’s just like any other pattern – frugality, exercise, communication. You have to work on it. But when you do – it’s so worth it.
I usually feel pretty crappy after a session of “Oh look at their new boat and gorgeous baby and thriving business. MUST BE NICE.” I feel crappy because I’m stewing in the toxicity. But after a gratitude journaling session, I always feel happier. And no excuses on this – when I say gratitude journaling some people think, “Oh who has an hour to wax poetic about all the joys of their stupid life.” Just NO. I’m talking a quick and dirty list of three things each night that went well, or that I have, or that make me smile. That’s it – jot down the chocolate pastry you had for breakfast, cuddles with your sleepy kiddo, and the funny show on Netflix. And you’re done. And you’re smiling. You can even just run over the list in your head while you’re brushing your teeth or making the bed. Make a habit, just like those little things.
Today I choose gratitude, and this helps me to not be such a grumpypants. And you can start small. You are not homeless. You have a computer and the internet, or at least access to one. You probably have plenty of clothes, and plenty of food. When you walk into a room, can you flip on a light effortlessly, or instantly access cold, clean water? What a miracle. Do you have a job? Are you healthy? What about someone in the world who thinks you’re the best? MUST BE NICE. 😉