“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.”
This popped up a minute ago on my phone. I have an app called Shine, recommended by the BFF, on my phone and every morning an inspirational quote is delivered to me. Do we over do the whole gratitude thing? Facebook will be full of Thanksgiving, Giving Thanks, Gratitude, etc. posts today. In fact, I’ve already read a few. On Tuesday, the last day of school before our break, I asked my advisees to write notes of gratitude to someone and I mailed or hand delivered them. I also asked them to make a gratitude list on a notecard. Sunshine, blue skies, music, ice cream, puppies, colors, education, books– that’s just a few that I can remember. But back to my original question– do we over do gratitude? I sincerely do not believe that is possible, if the gratitude is indeed sincere. I like to think that I practice gratitude every day now. It hasn’t always been the case. I wish that when I was in 7th grade and worried about so many things over which I had absolutely no control that someone had suggested a gratitude list. Wonder what I would have put on it back then? I read a short article on Shine about self-gratitude- How I Made Self-Gratitude a Habit (And Stopped Feeling Awkward About It), written by Aisha Beau. One quote:
Given that Thanksgiving is upon us, ’tis the season to be thankful. Yet, rarely are we ever told that who we are on the inside and the attributes we bring to the table are a cause for gratitude. Yes, of course having particular belongings and supportive people in your life are blessings–however, the true blessing begins with knowing your worth. Making yourself the focal point of gratitude for once may be the catalyst necessary to make change.
Interesting idea, isn’t it? If more people thought about their own self-worth and what blessings they bring to others and to this world would there be less drug addiction and alcoholism? Less mass shootings? Less hatred towards others simply because of the color of their skin or their religion? Would fewer people take their own lives, leaving loved ones crushed in the wake of that decision? Would we work towards solving problems instead of causing them or complaining about them? I certainly think so.
The author goes on to say that science has proven that practicing gratitude rewires our brains. We become more positive, stress is reduced, as well as anxiety and depression. She suggests making a nightly short list of things we are grateful for about ourselves. Perhaps something as simple as “I let the guy behind me at Food Lion go first because he only had two items and I had a cartful.” He thanked me several times and all I needed to say back to him was “You’re welcome. Happy Thanksgiving, sir.”
- positive self-talk first thing in the morning
- learn to accept compliments (and later write them down in your journal) and take them out and read them when positive self-talk is having a tough day
- begin and/or end your day with saying your self-gratitudes out loud
Brené Brown is one Ms. Beau’s go-to writers on this subject. I love her work as well. Upon googling her name, I found this- 17 badass Brené Brown quotes from Business Chicks. Two examples:
“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”
“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”
I show this Brené Brown video on empathy to my advisees. You should click and watch.
So, truth disclaimer needed here. This is not the direction I planned to take when I sat down to write this post. I started thinking about writing as I was making pumpkin muffins for the family on this chilly Thanksgiving 2018 morning. I took photos of my oven, the flowers I bought yesterday, my pretty Fiesta Ware dishes that my sister gave me, a photo of Mama Mildred and one of the Ex-Ex as a little boy, as well as Sons #1 and #2 when they were little, Adorable Granddaughter. Things and people that I am grateful for. I am incredibly lucky to have such a loving family and some pretty things. And I do know that if I take care of myself then I will be a better human, wife, mother, sister, grandmother, daughter, teacher- all of my titles. Actually practicing being grateful for me is a new idea. Can we all give it a try? I think that we would then be more able to help each other, to empathize.
Bon appétit and Happy Thanksgiving to all. Thank you for taking the time to read. Be good to yourself today. Think about not just what you put on the table for your meal today, but what you bring to the table! Why do those sitting around your table love you? Gratitude starts with you.