My friend Deborah, is doing a 30 Day Gratitude Challenge for the month of December where each day, she comes up with three things for which she is grateful. She’s added her own twist to it by posting the three things every day on Facebook.
When I first start reading her posts, I thought they were cute I was proud of her for doing it. As the month wore on and my life kicked into higher gear, her daily posts started to irritate me, making me want to roll my eyes at her gratitude for things like the subway (she was visiting from Los Angeles) or a fresh manicure. The more grateful she was, the angrier I felt – not at her, of course, but at myself and my life for not being gratitude-worthy.
As I sank deeper into my self pity, I realized that it was up to me create a life in which I feel gratitude. My other friends encouraged me to do “gratitude pages” which is where you write a few pages each day of the things you’re grateful for in your life. I could see their lips moving as they talked – my friends - but I couldn’t hear them. I wanted to listen, but the resistance was winning out.
Until Deborah and I had a conversation, where I expressed with exasperation, “I want to feel grateful, I do. But I can’t seem to get out of my own way.” After a slight pause, which unbeknownst to her, had a dramatic effect, she simply asked, “And how is that way of thinking serving you?” In other words, “Uh, Liz, this lack of gratitude in your life – um, yeah, is that working for ya?”
Her words, as simple as they were, sliced right to the truth. Suddenly, I saw her lips moving and I heard her words loud and clear! Every time I began to go down the pity-party road, I gently stopped myself and asked, “And how is this serving me?” My hecklers were all-too-willing to reply with an entire host of reasons as to why my life was not as great as the next person. However, I saw it all very clearly – the lack of gratitude was keeping me in an ill-perceived place of safety. There’s no risk in being miserable! I don’t have to work so hard if I’m just looking at the world through smut-covered glasses.
So, I asked my wise friend, “How do you do it? Find something to be grateful for every single day?” And you know what she said? “Oh girl. Sometimes, it’s really freakin’ hard and I don’t feel a thing. But I’m committed to this and ya know what? There’s always something to be grateful for.”
And she’s right. Whether it’s the warm, dry socks on my feet or the way my hair smells when it’s freshly washed or the fact that I have wonderful people – friends and family – in my life who love me. There is always something to be grateful for. So, in honor of the gratitude, I want to thank you for reading my blog and supporting my work.
Gratitude is not just about the things outside of yourself. I’m working on the part where I find things about myself that I feel thankful for…..you should try it to!
Happy Holidays to All of You!!