“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
– Oprah Winfrey
Last year, I created 52 Healthy Habits that were designed to invigorate the mind, body, and spirit. It was my way of getting healthier, fit, and feeling happier with life. I even created a Healthy Habits Assessment sheet to help me stay on track. Click here to download a free copy. One of these habits is having an “Attitude of Gratitude” and seeing the best of a situation.
This habit is an easy one for me . . . some days. . .other days, not so much.
It is easy enough to be pleasant,
When life flows by like a song,
But the man worth while is one who will smile,
When everything goes dead wrong.
When I was ten or eleven years old, I broke my arm and spent three weeks in the hospital lying flat on my back while my arm was in traction with pins. I was unable to stand or sit up; I had to use a bedpan (awkward) and nurses had to give me sponge baths (also embarrassing). It sounds awful, but honestly, I had so many family and friends visit me (usually bearing gifts) that I almost felt spoiled. (Okay, almost.)
I still have a spiral notebook (tucked somewhere in my sentimental keepsakes) that contains hand-written notes from all my hospital guests. One of these notes was from my grandmother who transcribed the above quote. Only instead of the word ‘man,’ she wrote ‘girl’ and told me how proud she was of me for continuing to smile even when I was laid up in a hospital bed.
Her words and that quote made an impression on me. Making my grandmother proud was a big deal for me. For those who knew my grandmother, you can probably understand why. I still consider her to be one of the strongest, wisest, and most amazing people I have ever met in my life. (I know that she is looking down on me from heaven.)
I think of my grandmother’s quote whenever bad things arise (or at least I try). It IS easier to be grateful when things are going well. It’s when disappointments or challenges arise that Gratitude can be more challenging.
That’s why I challenged myself last fall (almost exactly a year ago) to FIND THE GOOD in bad situations; to STOP complaining. My goal was/IS to keep complaining to a minimum (and in full transparency, this is a work in progress).
After all, people do not like to be around complainers. I mean, do you?
I am a sponge when it comes to energy — I believe we all are. We can feed off each other’s energy — positive or negative. Hearing people complain — shoot, hearing myself complain — can be draining. A definite turn off. Whenever I am in a negative mood, I find that I just get angrier and angrier. My focus is on everything that is WRONG, everything THAT IS LACKING.
And as the saying goes. . . What you think about you bring about. If you are dwelling on negativity and thinking about all the things that you are lacking, then you are not available to see or receive the good.
As I stated, it was almost a year ago that I decided to implement this new “Healthy Habit”. I had just gotten back from a girl’s trip in Chicago, celebrating my 50th Birthday (MONTH – ha, ha). It was such a fun and amazing trip, so of course, I was in a great mood. I was GRATEFUL! On my positive high, I decided to make my gratitude resolution.
But then I got home — back to reality. And that reality involved finding a GIGANTIC water damaged ceiling in my kitchen as soon as I walked into the house. We already had severe roof damage which had caused water damage in our master bathroom. New roofs are not cheap. And then, walking into the house, seeing my kitchen ceiling, I wanted to cry.
It LITERALLY felt as if the ceiling was caving in.
Seriously, God? I make a resolution and you immediately want to test me?
Alright then, challenge accepted.
I decided to use the big, black, water-damaged ceiling as the catalyst to get the other areas of our house fixed. That was my silver lining, I told myself. Finally sucking it up and getting all our house repairs done would be my GOOD THING.
AS IT TURNED OUT the leak was a simple fix (a pipe from our master bathtub had come undone; it was not a major plumbing issue that we first suspected) AND the kitchen and bathroom ceilings were covered by insurance. (THE GOOD!) And while the roof was not covered by insurance, we still found the means and motivation to get the roof replaced. There was good that came from that moment.
Finding the good allowed a bad situation to not only SEEM not so bad, ultimately it resulted in not BEING so bad.
If there is one take-away from this long posting, I hope you take this:
GRATITUDE IS A HABIT AND IT CAN BE LEARNED.
The more you consciously practice being grateful, the easier it becomes.
In simple terms, it is a matter of being either a
glass-half-full or half-empty person?
If you are looking for the good,
you will find it.
If you are looking for the bad,
you will find it too.
THIS IS MY CHALLENGE TO YOU:
Pay attention to your thoughts and words. If you find yourself complaining (glass half-empty), try turning that complaint into something positive (glass half-full).
Practice being grateful on a regular basis. I think you’ll find that your grateful energy will open doors and attract others (and opportunities) to you.
This year, I am rolling up my sleeves and challenging myself with 52 Weeks of Healthy Habits—habits for the mind, body, and spirit! All 52 of these habits can be found in the 52 Healthy Habits Assessment Chart that can be downloaded it for FREE by clicking here.