Thanks to a group coaching program that I joined this year, I have developed a daily gratitude practice that has me listing ten things I am happy and grateful for. Out of those ten things, three have to specifically be about me.
Although I’m pretty sure I have mentioned some things more than once already, really, I feel like there is still a lot more to be thankful for. I have been doing this now for over a hundred days and it sure is getting more and more challenging to come up with three things I particularly love about myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me! And I think I have great qualities. I guess we’re just not wired to sing ourselves praises, no? And we should. But if it’s uncomfortable to call it self-praise, let’s put it this way: I just have to love me.
We’re not being called to be boastful, only to be grateful for oneself.
What does it mean to be grateful for oneself?
It means appreciating something about you, acknowledging something about you that makes you happy (or has made you happy).
And we do it along with being generally grateful for everything else. For what’s around us, our circumstances, etcetera, etcetera.
A daily gratitude practice worked wonders for me.
I no longer feel anxious about tomorrow. And I feel a lot more positive about life in general. Now, I never was a negative type, but I also didn’t think I can be even more optimistic. And, in a way, I am.
It reminds me to not take anything for granted. To be thankful for the big things, and the small things. For the good, and the bad. It has helped me feel less envious or resentful, and to not look at others and regard them less fortunate, but understand the difference in our circumstances and yet feel genuine empathy and a yearning to reach out and find out how I can help.
This gratitude practice is teaching me to not waste time, energy, and opportunity. It has taught me to see how much abundance is out there, and how we are already living in abundance, no matter the balance in our bank accounts.
On the outside, I know it seems like it is taking me so long to get my butt moving and do something already. After all, I am 6 months into my mini-retirement (and I’m pretty sure my husband feels that way) but to me, it doesn’t feel like a waste of time or opportunity.
It was a gathering of energy and love. A (long) moment of rest and enjoyment of freedom. Of making space in my life for more. And now that I know how it feels to have so much time to do just the things I want to do (and I haven’t even done everything), I now know the importance of protecting that freedom and not be tied down to living life in somebody else’s terms.
But this post isn’t about my mini-retirement. It’s about having an attitude of gratitude.
A quick Google search for “effects of gratitude” will lead you to a lot of research on this topic. Feel free to check those out if you need to be convinced that you should develop the practice. But all I want to tell you is this,
Just start with one thing.
Find time in your day to sit down and express gratitude for one thing in or about your life.
Write it down with a pen and a notebook. Or type it on a notepad on your phone:
“I am happy and grateful _____________________________________________.”
Do it again the next day. Do it for the whole week.
Do it for another week. And another. Even if you miss a day, that’s okay. No need to double up the next day (though you’re free to do so).
When you feel like you have nothing more to say thank you for, go back and review your list. And then try again. Give thanks for just one thing.
After some time has passed, reflect on what has changed for you, or in you. Ask yourself if you want to keep going. If the answer is no, ask why not?
As for me, and for today, here is my list of ten things:
- I am happy and grateful for Martine De Luna and her Be Captivating program, for many reasons, one of which is helping me cultivate this gratitude practice.
- I am happy and grateful for the SATS Community that I grew up in. Today is Fiesta at SATS (feast of St. Andrew the Apostle).
- I am happy and grateful that I have complete control of my life right now. That is both scary and exciting.
- I am happy and grateful that I have choices to make. That can be a disadvantage sometimes, but it is definitely a good thing for me, right now.
- I am happy and grateful for my Auntie Leesah, who died this day, 15 years ago. She always had my back. She was very supportive of my side hustles back then. Especially of my baking.
- I am happy and grateful for the TV series His Dark Materials. I love having to look forward to a new episode every week. I haven’t read all three books in the series yet but I’ve pulled them from my shelves, ready to be cracked open. Still deciding if I’ll be re-reading The Golden Compass.
- I am happy and grateful for people who leave product reviews on E-Commerce platforms, and also for those who blog and vlog about them. Real and honest product reviews are helpful when you’re deciding to buy something.
- I am happy and grateful for being able to find the right words to say at certain times and situations.
- I am happy and grateful for trusting people.
- I am happy and grateful that I have set healthy boundaries in terms of what I expect from others and my perceived role in their lives (or what I think others may expect of me). I just really don’t assume that I or my opinions are that important to anyone else.
For the past two Novembers, I’ve played along with Cathy Zielske for 30 Days of Thankful: I made a 6×8 album for 2017 and wrote a series of blog posts for 2018. This year, I intend to make another album. I know, it’s already the end of November, and I haven’t started, and that’s okay. It’s the practice that matters.
Will you join me in being grateful every day?