Monday, 6 October 2008

The Greatest Gift of All…The Gift of Gratitude

We are so busy. Aren’t we? We rarely take the time to step back and think about where we are, what we want and more importantly, what got us here? Being female, we are prone to self-criticism, doubts and other negative thoughts. When something goes wrong, we are the first ones to get disappointed, frustrated and pessimistic. How many of us sit back and really think about how awesome our lives are? When we are in a slump, we rarely remember the great things that surround us everyday. At the risk of sounding more and more like Oprah, I encourage you to think about the things you should be grateful for.

When my life took a turn for the worse a couple years ago, many friends were around to offer guidance, a shoulder to cry on, or their words of wisdom. Looking back, I can say that everyone was as helpful as they knew how to be. My friend Becky took another route. She had an idea of what I had been through and decided to pass onto me a gift that she had received during a similar time in her life: Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude by Sarah Ban Breathnach

I know many of you have heard about this book or other types of books about gratitude on Oprah. They all seem to follow “the Secret” way of thinking. I don’t claim to endorse any of these books or their ideals. I can only speak of my personal experience with gratitude

The idea of writing in a journal the things that I was grateful for or appreciated everyday seemed cheesy. Moreover, it seemed like an insurmountable task. What the hell did I have to be thankful for? I was angry and alone. But therein lays the problem. I was so busy feeling miserable and pessimistic; I never took the time to experience gratitude. Something, some urge, forced me to pick up a pencil and write down even the smallest joys of each day. This became a ritual for a year and a half. (Unfortunately, Becky’s book only latest a year, so I began to write on lined paper). Some days I found the list easy to compose, other days, it was a struggle to think of anything that made my life happy. But I persisted.

My life soon became better and I started to be more optimistic about my future. I never thought writing in a book everyday and taking that extra time to reflect would have such an impact. I have recently started to feel the same way I did two years ago. I feel lost and alone with many problems that have no solutions. I have since realized that I haven’t taken the time to be grateful for those things around me. I just keep digging myself into a deeper hole of negativity when I think about all the challenges I am facing and the rut I am stuck in. So I have begun writing down everyday what I love about life. I will keep you posted on my progress…but something tells me I already know the outcome. When you are truly grateful for what you have, you have no room for negativity. You believe in yourself, your future and the gift of gratitude…a gift that keeps on giving. (want some wine with that cheese?)

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