This challenge doesn’t cease to amaze me! Each week I realize how far I’ve come from the person that I used to be. If you’ve been following my journey on this challenge, you’ll know that I used to be pessimistic and struggle with depression. Being grateful wasn’t apart of my thought process much less my routine. Until one day I realized that complaining about the negative things in my life was getting me nowhere fast. I decided to start being thankful for the positive things.
That was easier said than done. After years of toxic thoughts dominating my mind, suddenly looking on the brightside wasn’t just difficult it was uncomfortable. I didn’t do very well at first. My thoughts turned to things that I lacked, things that others had, things that I thought I needed and wanted to be happy. I compared myself to others and found myself getting jealous of what they had; not material things but things that were lacking in my own life. That’s when I started to realize that it wasn’t by chance that people I knew had the things I longed for. They had been cultivating and nurturing the flowers of healthy relationships, financial stability, and were growing luscious gardens of happiness, love and joy.
The grass isn’t greener on the other side; it’s greener where you water it.
As I retell my story, I’m starting to realize I didn’t have this one event that changed my life forever. There was an event that made me realize how far I had fallen but it was really a series of events that helped me find my footing as I crawled out of rock bottom (that seemed bottomless to me then). I somehow stumbled upon the quote above and it just made sense. I realized I was seeing the results of the effort people put in to get the things they had. I wanted the fruit but wasn’t sowing the seeds. I had to start from scratch and that meant doing some hard work- taking responsibility for my negative thoughts, changing my perspective, training myself to think positively and ultimately align my actions with those thoughts.
All of this to say that this week has shown me how different I am today than I was 3 years ago. While I used to have to force myself to find positive angles to the point of mental exhaustion, I now frequently find myself practicing gratitude. I wake up with a grateful heart, visualizing in my head all of the things I’m thankful for. I go throughout my day and feel appreciative. Even in the midst of a few situations this week that weren’t pleasant, I found myself taking a step back to get perspective and practicing gratitude. If you watched the Brene Brown clip I posted earlier in the week, she mentioned gratitude being something you practice and not an attitude of gratitude. While being grateful can improve my mood almost instantaneously for me it is something I practice throughout each day. Once I devoted myself to practicing it daily for years it become apart of my lifestyle and one I continue to dedicate myself to because it’s such a powerful way to live my life.
Here’s a list of things that I’m grateful for that money can’t buy:
- Health- My grandma always says that health is one of the most important things in life. I agree because when your health suffers it greatly impacts your quality of life in many if not all areas of your life. I’m thankful for the health of my family as well as my own.
- Family- I have a very loving, caring and supportive family unit. There are few of us in my inner circle of family but it’s rock solid and for that I’m thankful.
- Peace of mind- Having struggled with depression and the self-imposed stress that comes with perfectionism, I’m thankful to be at a point that I can embrace life in the present moment. I go with the flow and don’t try to paddle upstream when things aren’t going the way I planned.
- Fulfillment- I’m at a point in my life that I no longer feel empty inside. I’ve found my purpose, my spiritual connection is strong, I’m doing things that feed my soul regularly and I’m taking steps to walk in my destiny. This is has taught me the difference between happiness and joy.
- Harmony- I realize the important role I play in my family. In this journey of pulling myself out of the pit I’ve also worked on becoming a more gentle parent. That means that the yelling, screaming, flying off the handle, and irrational reactions, have disappeared over time. Fear, confusion and insecurity that surely would have developed (or continued to develop) in my oldest daughter began to dissipate as I replaced those hurtful destructive reactions with ones that came from a place of healthy perspective, understanding, and kindness. I’m thankful that I was able to take steps to making the change when she was around 5 so while she still remembers “Mommy having a mean face and a mean voice” she no longer identifies with that person or feels like that person is in our home.
I’m not there yet but I’m closer than I’ve ever been. I’m not a perfect mom, wife, or person and I accept that I never will be nor do I have to be. My focus is on doing the best that I can with each opportunity I have throughout the day. I’m thankful that I can accept myself for who I am and embrace myself struggles and strengths included.
Click on photo to go to post
One of the posts that I open up about my former struggle with depression. I say former because it’s been 3 years since I’ve had dark, toxic, self-destructive thoughts.
In case you missed the Brene Brown video clip where she talks about gratitude on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. This is good! You might even want to rewatch it 😉
What are you grateful for today? Do you practice gratefulness regularly? How does it make you feel? Will you start practicing? What do you think it can do for your life?
Please remember, this is my personal reflection. To pingback (link) to the reflection post of your current challenge week, click here.