The fact that I'm posting a gratitude journal is something I'm proud of. Had I not embarked on a journey of thankfulness, I would have been ending the day with a 'perfect' list of things I'm not happy about!
I had a bit of an intense day, and trying to unearth positive thoughts out of a whirlwind of emotions can be quite a challenge. However, I will press on with positive vibes and know that I will be feeling much better by the time I finish writing this.
Your thoughts, your choice
In her book called Switch On Your Brain, Dr Caroline Leaf writes, "You are free to make choices about how you focus your attention, and this affects how the chemicals and proteins and wiring of brain change and function. Scientists are proving that the relationship between what you think and how you understand yourself – your beliefs, dreams, hopes, thoughts – has a huge impact on how your brain works." (p. 33).
She mentions that negative thinking is not the norm and that how we perceive things is influenced by how we think. I believe gratitude is another way of rewiring the way we think so we can experience true happiness. When we transform our thinking, we change our health, outlook, and so forth.
Loving what you have
Unexpectedly, I had an inspirational conversation with a little boy today. I talk to his mum quite a lot and have come to know that he is no ordinary child. He taught me that critical lesson a while ago when he asked me what I perceived to be a common question. And so, I'd given him a habitual response. He wasn't impressed and continued the conversation with a why. I gave him another answer, and the battle of whys ensued. Eventually, he said, "You realise that I'm going to ask you why until you give me a good answer?" I had no option but to try harder and deliver a good answer without patronising his intelligence. The questioning stopped.
That was then, and I learnt my lesson! Today, we found ourselves talking about what looked like a play den, although it was a makeshift tomb to celebrate Easter. It seemed rather cosy, draped with white sheets, flowers outside a tiny entrance, pebbles, plants and what looked like a giant rock moved to the side. Whoever built it did a great job. Still, the little boy had some questions. Knowing the kind of person he is, I was pretty pleased when he was satisfied with my responses. He then said he wouldn't mind living in a place like that. "You can just go to work, come back, eat your food, and sleep in there," he suggested. I said he'd find it too small, although I knew he'd pictured himself in a cosy little place to escape - every child wants a play den. With hands in his pocket, the little boy responded, "Well, if that's all you had, you'd learn to love it!"
How many of us would think like that about ourselves? Appreciating what we have because that's who we are.
On Day 3, I focused on appreciating our surroundings. Yesterday, I touched on being thankful for people who have come into our lives, either for a season or a reason. But how about appreciating who we are? Most people struggle with that concept. We've become conditioned to finding perfection in others while we find fault in our reflections. We're busy trying to look like other people and hoping to be happier in the process. It's one thing to improve your habits so you can be a better version of yourself, it's another thing to try to be what you're not.
Being grateful for your presence on earth!
So many times, I’ve looked at myself in the mirror and judged myself harshly. The more I think about it, the more I realise that I’ve forgotten to love myself. Today, I am grateful that I can walk and wake up in the morning without needing aid and control how my day went. I am thankful for my Afro, the prominent dimples on my face, my smile. I’m grateful that I can eat without needing assistance, that I can see, and work with both hands. I am thankful for every system in my body created to sustain and give me life. Grateful that I can breathe without needing assistance. Before I go to sleep, I will close my eyes and pray to God, thanking him for everything about me from head to toe.
How about taking stock of everything you’ve grown to hate about yourself and turn that into thankfulness? Instead of finding fault, we may find comfort in knowing that we can learn to love what we have.
You and I won’t regret it.
Uncover inspiring stories with moral lessons from our surroundings.