UK: The Power of Gratitude
I love reading other people’s blogs and sometimes a post just stays with me and I go back to it a number of times because it is worth reading over and over again. Last August I read a post by Glennon at Momastery and she summed up my stance on life in such a fabulous post, one that quickly went viral.
Go and have a read if you like and then come back, or alternatively, here is the low-down. Glennon starts by saying she posted a picture of herself in her kitchen on Facebook and very quickly people started to comment on her status with offers of help. Help to update her kitchen, pictures for inspiration and advice of how she might move away from her kitchen of clutter, mismatched appliances and 80’s style work surfaces.
Guess what happened? Within minutes Glennon had moved from her place of contentment and was converting a shiny new kitchen, one that did not make her look lazy and dated. She then talks of going to bed that night and remembering a quote from Thoreau’s Walden: “I say beware of all enterprises that require new clothes and not a new wearer of the clothes.”
In her words “Walden reminds me that when I feel lacking – I don’t need new things, I need new eyes with which to see the things I already have.” Of course the next morning as she walked into her kitchen her eyes were aligned very differently and instead of a craft covered refrigerator and overflowing sink she saw plenty of chilled food that could sustain her family and easy access to clean drinking water, things that much of the world cannot take for granted.
I can’t urge you enough, dear friends, to choose to be grateful for what you have in life. Of course your life is not perfect, no-one’s is but there is always joy to be had in every day. Around the same time as I started to write my personal blog seven years ago I adopted the stance that we all choose how our day would go. I had baby twins and a toddler and life was full-on, I could feel myself spiralling into late-onset post-natal depression and I knew I had to make some changes to help me.
The big change was to choose to be happy, happy with what I had in life, happy that I had been blessed with three small demanding children and happy that my life lay ahead of me and that I had the freedom to choose how it might look.
This choice, combined with continual talking about how I felt, led to me feeling so much better, and the depression started lifting. I know I was lucky, it is not always that easy to rise out of the blackness, but my faith and belief in God’s goodness really helped me.
In 2011 I started a new series on my blog called Reasons to be Cheerful and this is an excerpt from the launch page – “Do you know what I believe are two of the fundamental keys to happiness? One, is to choose to be happy and the other is to want what you already have! Endless seeking of things, money, status, time or anything else will never fulfil you! This is where the gratitude comes in….“ And over time I just felt my contentment grow.
For me as a Christian it is important that I express my gratitude as the bible tells me ‘to give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever’ (Psalm 106:1) but you do not have to share my faith to believe in the power and necessity of practising the principle of gratitude. I am living proof that gratitude makes a massive difference in your life. With practise when you choose to look for the good and see where you can be thankful rather than focusing on the bad you will find your mood, your health, your outlook on life and your contentment lift. It is a precious gift indeed to feel content.
So I urge you next time you see someone else’s shiny new kitchen and you start to think that yours needs an update, try and delve a little deeper and see what it is you are really missing, as its unlikely to be kitchen units. What has caused this dissatisfaction? Then once you have pondered this, turn it around and share your #3GoodThings for that day and watch the low feeling disappear as you revel in all the goodness and beauty you already have in your life.
As my lovely friend Karin always says “Not every day is good but there is good in every day.”
What are you grateful for? How do you seek happiness when things are not going well?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Michelle Pannell of Mummy from the Heart. Photo credit to the author.