A little over a year ago, alongside my dining room table sat plastic, miss-matched lawn chairs. Take two steps south and there was a ratty sofa in my living room with a massive hole in it where the middle gave out.
This was a pivotal time in my life where I had felt alone, imprisoned in a never ending struggle and that I would always be dreaming never living.
I begged for a breath of hope, to be given some sort of sign that my life will get better.
Every single day, that hole in the couch reminded me of the shame I felt for not being able to make enough money.
And the lawn chairs, recapped the resentment I held on to as the involuntary, majority provider of my household.
The idea of never getting ahead is frightening. The idea of having to do it alone, defeating. These negative emotions were taking over leaving little room for happy.
This wasn’t living.
I craved the financial freedom that affords a new sofa when the old one is too warn or replacement chairs if one breaks; or shoes for my kids when they needed them not a few weeks out when I could squeeze it in the non-existent budget after holes have expanded, toes exposed and soles too warn; even then, another priority was always sacrificed.
Do you remember those old cassette recorders? The ones where when you pressed “play” the “stop” button popped up – you can never press all of the buttons at the same time? If you remember this, I know you tried.
All of the buttons are your priorities but you can only press one at a time – leaving the other buttons intact.
Or perhaps you remember the cartoon episode where the roof is leaking and the character grabs a bucket and moments later another leak, another bucket. Pretty soon there are no more buckets left and the rain is still pouring in?
That is what it is like to be unable to provide for your family fully. That immediate feeling of losing a battle to the rain has a way of sucking life, hope, and happiness from some pretty incredible people (myself included).
When you feel like you have nothing or simply not enough, an uplifting practice of gratitude is the best possible solution to break free from a down spiraling mindset.
By practicing gratitude, doors opened for me; it afforded me a new dining room table with matching chairs, and a huge blemish-free sofa.
Gratitude helped me see the greatness surrounding me.
It helped release anxiety and made me appreciate what I have, where I am going, and me. It helped me appreciate me.
Two lessons here:
You must be grateful for the things you do have (even if that is leaky roof over your head) in order to allow the things you want to come into your life.
New is not better if you don’t appreciate the old.
As with any habit, it takes time, consistency, and conscious effort to see results.
Here are 9 ways to practice gratitude starting today:
Write down 10 things you are grateful for daily
Express appreciation and gratitude before you turn in for the night and again once you wake up and before you leave your bed.
Grab a box of thank you note cards and send a note of gratitude out each day.
Smile. Every day and often.
Treat others better
Treat your space better
Treat your things better
Learn from your hiccups and identify how you can improve
Give more, even when it is you who is in need
What is one thing that happened today that you are truly grateful for?
Thank you. I am grateful for you and for the time you invested into reading my message.
Do your best today!
**Originally published on LinkedIn