Why the Focus on Gratitude (Part 4)

I feel like I’m finally getting back into the swing of things here at home. A month out of routine is long enough to really throw you for a loop and I think. In some ways, I’ve been trying to “get back” to where I was.

But I don’t know if that’s truly the goal. I’m starting to think that a “shake up” is not a bad thing, if I choose to see it that way. Is it possible that this is a new stage of life and rather than attempting to “go back” to what and where I was…maybe this is a fantastic opportunity to put new routines into play? I’ll definitely be giving that some thought over the next while.

I pushed quite hard on Monday and Tuesday to accomplish my “To do” lists and I got a ton done but today. I felt like I was flailing a bit. Not as productive or organized and I was even struggling to create a list, let alone work through it.

But, it’s a gorgeous sunny day and I did get my linen closet organized so I’m calling today a win!

One of the things that I’ve learned over the years is to be kind to myself. Did I accomplish as much as I wish I had today? Nope! But what would I say to a friend who was lamenting their lack of productivity?

Would I say, “You loser! What’s wrong with you? You just need to be more focused and try harder?

No, I wouldn’t. If I did, I wouldn’t be a very good friend and I probably wouldn’t have many friends. Instead, I’d probably say, “Oh that tough! I know what it feels like to not get done what you were hoping for. But look, you did get “this” done and that’s amazing. There’s always tomorrow to try again. You’ve got this.”

If we wouldn’t talk to a friend with scorn and contempt, why do we do it to ourselves?

I’ve found that practising looking for the things that I can be thankful for has impacted so many areas of my life.

In today’s example, I didn’t get done what I wanted; but my brain sees the gorgeous sunshine and the fact that I did tidy the linen closet and those things are AMAZING.

I’ve had days where I’m just grateful that I’m alive and that my kids had enough cereal to get them through serving themselves breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ve had days where I was just thankful that my bed was comfy and I had a window to look out of. I’ve had some really bad days where I had to set the bar of what I was grateful for pretty freakin’ low; and that’s okay. There will be those days.

But you know what, just as certain as winter turn to spring which then turns into summer and then fall; the seasons of your life will change, too. I’ve experienced some of longest, darkest winter seasons where I couldn’t possibly fathom a change to anything even resembling the growth of spring. But it happened. Every time. Without fail. And I’ve learned to trust that. I’ve learned to trust that Season’s change and sometimes what I need to do is to hunker down and just hold on because even if I don’t see it or feel it, it’s gonna happen.

In the mean time, I look for things to be grateful for. I look for the beautiful things. I look for the things that make me smile. I look for the things that will bring my soul, even the minutest glimmer of hope; something to help me get from this moment to the next and the next and the next because I know that Spring is coming.

It wasn’t until 2019 that I decided to go all in and actually DO A THING. At the end of February 2019, I decided to do a month of Gratitude and post every day on Instagram with something that I saw or noticed, in my day, that I could be thankful for.

I had already been irregularly practising gratitude for over a decade BUT the change in me from the beginning of the month the end of the month was powerful. It was easy to see the good. It became natural to look for things that I could be thankful for. Putting the idea into a daily practise meant that it became a habit. A regular behaviour that gets done almost subconsciously.

So now, I’m always looking for things that will brighten my day. If I’m struggling with something, I’ll acknowledge the challenge to be honest with myself AND find something to be thankful for.

It’s not about Toxic Positivity. I looked that phrase up and the definition is dysfunctional emotional management without the full acknowledgment of negative emotions, particularly anger and sadness.

That’s not at all what I’m encouraging because life can be really freaking hard. I know. I really know. Life has been challenging enough for me that I needed “something” to help me not only survive when I’m in the middle of a challenging time but to help me carry on and even thrive, in spite of the garbage that I’ve been going through.

Practising gratitude has been that thing for me and I believe in it enough to say that it could be life changing for you, too.

So practically, how can you do it? How can you start to live a life where you practise gratitude and see the benefits at play in your life? I’m gonna talk about that in the next post.

If you feel like it, I’d love to hear ONE thing from your day that you are grateful for. I’ll go first.

I’m thankful for my dishwasher. It’s full and running and I don’t have to wash all the dishes by hand and my empty sinks make me feel happy.

Or…..I’m thankful for cold drinks on hot days.

Or…..I’m thankful for the wind that’s blowing my wind chimes and making them chime so pretty in my backyard.

Or…clean clothes. Really thankful for clean clothes.

What are you thankful for!?