Look, I get it. You hear that word ‘gratitude’ and all you can do is roll your eyes and say “well that’s good for her but she doesn’t know my life.”
I hated the word ‘gratitude’ for SUCH a long time. In fact, anything regarding being thankful beyond the polite ‘thank you’ was too much for me to handle. I wanted nothing to do with it.
But now, gratitude is the only reason I’m here at all.
Gratitude changed my life.
And I’m not saying that to be dramatic. I’m saying that because it’s true.
Angry was my default emotion. I didn’t know I was capable of feeling any different. I hated the world and everyone in it, myself included.
So when I realized I could learn how to be grateful and that it would greatly impact my life, everything changed.
However, I’ve definitely slacked on it for the last couple of months. So I’ve decided that I’m going to focus on my gratitude every day for 30 days. I’ve seen the impact it has on my life and on the lives of those I work with.
I’m not here to force the gratitude idea on you. I’m here to show you how it’s helped me and why I’ve decided to commit to it for 30 days.
Why gratitude is so important
I avoided thinking about gratitude for a really long time. Once I learned just how important it was, I couldn’t put it off any longer.
So why is gratitude so important anyway?
Our brains are hardwired to focus on the negative. It’s safer to be cautious and expect to get hurt than to hope for the best. While it may be “safe” according to your brain, it’s a really unhealthy way to live. We don’t want to hide under a rock expecting to get eaten every time we leave that rock.
Keeping that in mind, you have to consistently give your brain reasons to steer away from that negative thinking. How do you do that? You give it things to be grateful for.
Gratitude teaches your brain that it doesn’t have to focus on the negative things all of the time. Just like giving your body water consistently teaches your body that it doesn’t have to hold onto any in case of drought, giving your body gratitude teaches your brain that it doesn’t have hold back joy.
Whether it’s how beautiful roses are, how great it is to have running water, or being grateful for defeating a boss in a video game. Focusing on that gratitude gives your brain the ability to notice the beauty around it.
It’s impacted my recovery.
I used to be a self-described angry person. I was so angry all the time that I didn’t know it was possible to feel anything different. Underneath that anger was so much sadness. I felt like a complete waste of space. I was angry at God for putting me here, angry at the men who hurt me, angry at the people around me for their ability to be happy.
When my ex and I split, I held onto this mindset. Because I was so angry and sad all the time, I didn’t allow myself to open up to healing. I thought joy was something only people who had never experienced trauma had. There was nothing I wanted to be grateful for. I felt like the world was out to get me and if I didn’t feel sorry for myself who would?
But once I realized that I was allowed to feel other things, I realized my capability for feeling a full range of emotions existed. That sounds dramatic, but that’s truly how it went.
This wasn’t a magic overnight change.
This took quite a bit of time for me to process and accept. That’s a big part as to why I share this. Because I don’t want you to waste the time I did. I want to show you what’s possible so you can skip the wait.
Once I embraced gratitude, I was able to see the beauty around me. It’s truly as if I could see in color for the first time.
I saw that there was so much more to life than what happened to me. Not to minimize it, but to show me that there was more possible than I ever imagined.
I began to be grateful for the roof over my head. I was grateful for my natural talent when it came to cooking, for my passion for fitness. The more I leaned into gratitude, the more I found myself.
How to apply it to your life
“Ok well this sounds all fine and good but how do I make this work for me?”
It starts with looking at the things that we may not notice. There’s nothing wrong with being grateful for the roof over your head or food in the fridge. But try to look a little deeper.
Recognize that you currently have something to read this on. Whether it’s a computer at the library, an old laptop, or a fancy gaming computer. Take some time and be grateful for that.
Think about how cool it is that you have access to the internet and a way to read a blog post.
You woke up this morning! Take a second to thank your body for being there for you. Even if you don’t like it, be grateful for it.
Do you like the way certain flowers look on your walk home? Is there a smell you enjoy?
These are all just ideas, but I want you to see that you don’t have to have the “perfect” life in order to be grateful. I certainly don’t and won’t ever pretend like I do.
But what I do have is an ability to share a message that the world needs to hear and I’m genuinely grateful about that.
Gratitude can seem both way too simple and overwhelming at the same time.
I understand that feeling. But the most important thing here is that you apply it, whether or not you think it’s going to work for you. It’s not “too easy,” it really does rewire your brain when you do it consistently.
You deserve to live a life you’re excited to wake up to instead of dreading everything around you.
I know it can be hard to get going on this when you haven’t focused on it before. That’s why I’m inviting you along on my 30 Days of Gratitude journey.
Everyday on my Instagram I’ll be sharing prompts in my stories to help you find gratitude everyday.
I’d love it if you join me! Come follow me by clicking here and be sure to check my stories!
If you’re late to the party, that’s ok! It’ll be in my highlights, too.
I can’t wait to get started!