What are you grateful for?
Beyond the roof over your head, the food in your belly, and your family, what are you grateful for?
If this question is difficult for you, you’re not alone. So many people struggle to see the good things in life, and unfortunately it’s biological.
Our brains are geared to finding the negative. This means we give a ton of attention to the bad things and hardly any attention to the good things.
We do this in life, at work, in relationships, even with our kids.
If our kids do something wrong, we yell at them for it. If they do something good, we don’t say anything. So they notice more of the wrong, we notice more of the wrong, so more wrong takes place.
It’s time to flip the script.
Have you seen that quote floating around Pinterest,
“what you focus on you get more of?”
It’s not just a quote on it’s way to becoming cliche, it’s true. If you’re constantly focused on the negative, that’s what you’re going to get more of.
If you’re convinced life is awful, life will be awful.
What you expect, you attract.
Now I’m coming at you as a formerly self described angry person who hated people, hated men, hated myself. I was a woman of extremes. Things weren’t sucky, they were absolutely terrible. I wasn’t mad, I was downright passionately angry.
So I’m not preaching some Pollyanna happiness BS. I’m just sharing facts.
You can choose to hate your life and continue to be miserable or you can start seeing it through the lense of gratitude.
Whenever I use the word “choose” people get up in arms. I used to be one of those people.
But you don’t understand how bad my life has been, Karleigh. You don’t understand what I’ve been through.
You’re telling me I’m just supposed to smile through the crap that goes down?
Being consistently happy all the time is unrealistic and not healthy. Do you see the world right now?!
Boo, I hear you. I hear you and I get it. I’m not saying that you have to smile while you’re being beaten down. But what I am saying is that there is beauty all around you if you choose to see it.
Sometimes life sucks. It sucks badly. But some of the happiest people I’ve ever met are the ones that have truly seen some ish in their life. I’ve seen homeless people see more beauty in the world than ones who have everything.
I never understood that, because when we were homeless I was so angry. I was blessed enough to be able to live with my grandma while my family, all 5 of them, lived in a tiny little fifth wheel in a friend’s yard.
But now I look back and it’s because they made a choice, the happy people weren’t happy on accident. They were happy because they realized they could be happy or miserable. Being happy and homeless is a lot better than being miserable and homeless.
You need to take the time to look around you and purposefully look for things to be grateful for.
If you don’t do this on a regular basis, it is difficult. That’s ok. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you awful.
Just like confidence is a skill, so is practicing gratitude.
What I want you to do, every night before bed, is grab a journal write down 5 things you’re grateful for.
I want you to think deeper than “a roof over my head.” Think about things that you are really grateful for.
Something for me is the smell of coffee. When I was younger, we lived with my grandparents. Every morning my Papa would brew Folger’s coffee. I didn’t like coffee, and I was also a child. But I loved the smell.
So my papa would pour me a small cup of coffee and we’d sit at the table together with our coffee. He’d drink his, I’d just feel like a fancy adult, smelling my mug of hot coffee. I’m so grateful for the smell of coffee, for that memory. While my Papa isn’t here anymore, I’m so grateful that I got to live with him for as long as I did.
I’m also grateful for my garden. Being able to walk outside and trim greens for a lunch salad blows my mind.
Spending time with my best friend, long drives in comfortable silence with someone I care about, the circumstances that fell in my lap to get me to where I am now. There’s so much gratitude I feel in each of those things.
Maybe you’re grateful for the way the sun feels on your skin, the job you have (even if you don’t love it). The about the supplements that make you feel good, running water, the way the birds sing outside of your window. Maybe you feel grateful for those things.
Whatever you’re grateful for, write it down.
Either keep the journal with you or make note in your phone and you can write them down when you get home.
Writing them down in a journal is important because you’ll be able to look back on things to be grateful for when you’re not feeling very grateful. You’ll also be able to see the progression. You’ll see how your the things you’re grateful for become more detailed, and you’ll see just how aware you’ve become.
Awareness is life changing.
If you can really focus on the good things in life, even when life seems to be absolutely crazy, you’re not only going to live a more fulfilling life, but you won’t be as panicked and miserable as the rest of the world.
Now I’m not saying that this is a cure-all. I’m not saying that by having a gratitude journal your whole life will suddenly become easy.
But what I am saying is that your life will become a lot better. You’ll quickly find all of the good things. You’ll find yourself hearing those around you complain and you’ll find things to be grateful for within their complaints.
Now I don’t recommend saying anything unless you’re close to them, but you get the point.
If you can commit to doing the work with your gratitude journal, you’ll be able to take on the world in a whole new way. You’ll find yourself overall happier, your relationships will strengthen, and you’re going to take care of yourself in a whole different way.