“It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.”Germany Kent
Today I wanted to talk about practicing gratitude. In the UK we have been sitting through another lockdown. As we’ve gone through each order to isolate ourselves at home, it is understandable we’re getting less appreciative of having to keep going through this.
Personally, I rarely go out, and the last time I went more than five miles from home was in December. At the moment I’m stressed, the gym is shut, the kids are demanding, and I’d love nothing more than to go to a TGI’s and bite down into a Chicken Club Sandwich.
There doesn’t seem to be much at the moment to be grateful for, but actually there is.
Today I wanted to share three approaches I use to continue to be grateful:
See the good from the bad
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”Melody Beattie
Over 365 days ago, my reality was fighting the commute. Daily, I’d work through my lunch break to allow me enough time for an early finish to get the 5.02 train home, because being too close to departure meant there was no chance of getting on a train crammed to the doors.
Missing this meant waiting an hour for the next one, a delay which meant getting home just in time for my childs nighttime routine, meaning in a 24 hour day, I got about 45 minutes with her before bed.
When my second daughter was born, I expected a similar cycle, working on the basis of making the weekends count, but not long after Corona hit, and I was working from home.
At times the kids drive me up the wall, I need a break from them, but on the positive I’m thankful for the opportunity to now get to spend so much time with them, I’ve seen them hit loads of milestones that I would normally miss out on.
Yes, the virus is terrible, but it has presented so many opportunities.
Recognise how far you’ve come
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”Robert Brault
Recently I heard something that resonated with me.
We get so wrapped up in where we want to go, we can’t see when we’ve arrived at the destination we wanted to get to.
This made me think of my own goals, I’ve had the vision to aspire to create a better life for myself and my family. I’ve realised I’m actually at the destination – in my post Massive Goal Achieved – Why Am I Disappointed? I felt really underwhelmed from the outcome.
But then I think back and recognise how far I’ve come, I feel much happier and grateful for my achievements – at 18, all I wanted at that age was a steady relationship, good job with career prospects, a family and my own home, so it was a major holy shit moment when I realised I’d achieved it all.
Yes I was so scared when I was young, facing that big wide world of responsibility, but I’m grateful for the strength I found to persist, conquer my fears and achieve something, which I can now enjoy with my family.
Be thankful for what you do have
“Everything that’s really worthwhile in life comes to us free – our minds, our souls, our bodies, our hopes, our dreams, our intelligence, our love of family and friends and country. All of these priceless possessions are free.”Earl Nightingale
At the moment, we are living in a tough situation because we are constantly reminded of all the privileges we once had, we can’t access. I’m not even a massive cinema goer, but the other day I was thinking how much I’d like to go and see a film on the big screen!
The problem is we put too much focus on what we don’t have, yet take for granted what we do have.
The quote from Earl Nightingale highlights this, how often do we wish we had lots of money, a fancy important sounding job, or being popular and cool?
I’m grateful not just for having a well paid job, but for being promoted in a time when people are being furloughed and losing their jobs.
I’m also grateful for:
- My health.
- My mind.
- Not losing any friends or family to the virus.
- Having friends who despite the distance I’ve managed to maintain contact with.
- My children.
- My wife.
- Having other hobbies and interests that I can practice at home such as writing.
My focus is looking towards what is there, rather than what isn’t, that means I’m not dwelling on the failures of the past.
“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”Charles Dickens
What are you thankful for?
When you feel down about your situation why not try writing a gratitude list? Simply get a piece of paper and write down everything good in your life.
- What good things have come from a bad situation?
- Where were you five years ago (or even longer)? What did you want? What have you achieved since then?
- What good things do you have in life that you take for granted?
There are lots of reasons to be grateful, from waking up to start another day, to seeing a smile from a loved one.
As this quote from Irving Berlin says:
“Got no checkbooks, got no banks, still I’d like to express my thanks. I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night.”Irving Berlin
I’d like to extend that quote “got not checkbooks, got no banks, nor cinemas, restaurants, pubs, gyms, shops…”
Take care of yourself
James @Perfect Manifesto