Gratitude and thankfulness. We generally reserve these two words and concepts for Hallmark cards and Turkey Day. Yet nearly every book, blog, and news article I've read the past several years has recommended a daily, consistent, intentional practice of gratitude as a holistic, DIY method for dealing with whatever ails you. Instead of wringing your hands with worry, make a list of experiences you're thankful for! Rather than run through that mental checklist of all the things you've done wrong in your life up till now, keep a tally of all the moments that put a smile on your face!
Example: There is currently a major thunderstorm happening outside and my dog is running around the house, barking her head off. My dog is lovely but has the loudest, most jarring bark of any dog on the planet. This has been going on for about an hour now. Who knows how long into the night it will continue. I want to throw things and flop around while crying BUT I'M GOING TO MAKE A GRATITUDE LIST, INSTEAD.
▽ A few weeks ago, my sister was visiting and I decided, for no reason at all, that it was the perfect day to dye my hair purple and that it made absolute sense to use a brand of hair dye I've never tried before and that we shouldn't really bother following the instructions on the box. Brilliant! We stained the bathrooms, our clothes, our hands, my face, neck, scalp, and ears a bright pink purple and, for a moment, I was horrified by my poor decision making skills, But miracle of miracles... my hair turned out awesome. It looks like a tropical sunset. So I'll definitely be repeating that mistake.
▽ My dad was able to fix my faulty shower head and wobbly toilet seat! Hooray!
▽ My mom helped me plant some amazing flowers around my house! Yippee!
▽ Iced Dirty Chai is a good thing.
▽ I experimented with Fresh Direct grocery delivery the other day and it was a fantastic experience. Groceries! Delivered to your house! Amazing!
▽ I'm thankful for my coworkers because they are super cool, funny, wonderful people!
▽ I am thankful for noisy box fans and Kong toys stuffed with frozen dog food. My dog and I would not have survived 4th of July fireworks without them!
▽ Is it weird to be thankful for Mad Max: Fury Road? Probably. Am I happy it exists? Yes.
▽ I recently bought some purple Doc Martens. I've struggled to like myself for a very long time and somehow these purple Doc Martens signified to me that I had arrived. I had finally evolved into the kind of person who could pull off purple Doc Martens with confidence. Guys. I cried. I shed tears over shoes. It got all kinds of weird but I was just so darn pleased with myself for wanting them, believing I deserved them, and then following through on that desire.
▽ I'm also thankful that I was able to return said life-altering purple Doc Martens. In my emotional delirium, I think I picked the wrong size shoe and they were killing my feet. So back to the store they went! Maybe I'll try again. Or maybe I'll buy crappy $10 shoes at Target, instead. I'm thankful that I valued myself enough to buy something that meant a lot to me and also thankful that I valued myself enough to say 'this isn't working out' and get my money back.
How are you doing on your list of gratitude? It's easy to rattle off the usual suspects: family, friends, job, house. And while we should definitely be thankful for those blessings, it's also fun to see if you can't go a little deeper and become more aware of the worth in everything around you.
Also the storm has passed and the dog has stopped barking. And I am thankful.