What is Gratitude and why does it work so well?
I have done a lot of soul searching this last couple of years.
I went through quite a lot in a small (ish) space of time prior to that.
Having my babies on my own without family to help me or give me a break.
The catastrophic earthquakes in Christchurch.
Thinking I was going to lose my baby (I was 28 weeks pregnant) and my husband (he was missing for six hours with no contact).
My step mum dying of the same cancer that took my mum all those years before, my father in law having Alzheimer’s, my mother in law dying suddenly after hitting her head during a fall.
All of this happening and my having to carry on and be the normal in my girls life.
Be the person that was consistent and ever present and emotionally okay because I had to be for them.
That can take a toll on a person
It certainly took its toll on me.
After all of this happened I became a bit of a recluse, reverting into my bubble by myself.
I was eating badly again that in turn was effecting my mood and I was terribly, terribly homesick.
All I wanted was my dad and my step sister Pauline, that’s all I wanted.
I needed them to tell me it was going to be okay and that I could do it.
That they were there for me – but they weren’t there, they were thousands of miles away in the UK.
For anyone who knows that journey its tough.
Going home a lot was totally out of the question.
Steve unfortunately does not feel the same way about the UK as I do.
And its probably the one stress on our relationship.
We don’t really disagree on much but we do disagree on that, and its hard, its hard for both of us.
I want him to be happy and I am sure he wants me to be happy just as much
But when one wants to live in one country and the other in another…well you can imagine.
We can’t both win and so for now our life is here, we make the best of it.
Until recently I was drowning a little in that feeling of being homesick.
I was so caught up in the need to be at home that I was forgetting how to live here in my every day life.
Something had to change.
And it had to change quickly otherwise it was going to drag me so far under I was scared I might not come back up.
Optimism and Gratitude
I have always been a pretty optimistic person.
My glass is always half full, so this feeling was strange and I didn’t like it.
I have always been interested in the law of attraction and remember reading “the secret” years ago.
However, I didn’t really understand what it meant back then.
In the last two years however I have read so many self help and self development books that have totally changed my perspective on my life here.
They made me realise that to get anywhere in life you have to be grateful for what you have here and now.
The little things, the things you take for granted, the insignificant things – they are the parts that matter.
Being aware of all the good things that I have instead of focusing on the things I dont have.
Gratitude to be means being thankful for everything
Counting your blessings, noticing the everyday simple things that you have that bring you joy.
Being aware all the time of how much you do have.
Gratitude can change your focus from what your life lacks to the things that are already there.
And so I began to look for anything and everything to be grateful for.
Instead of berating Steve for not understanding my need to go home I began to see how hard he works for me and the girls.
How much he hates being away for work all the time but that he does it for us.
To allow us the life we are accustomed to.
I noticed my home, all the beautiful things in it.
Walking down the High Street in area that I live in I noticed how pretty it was, the buildings, the trees.
I began to feel grateful for a smile from Chloe or Hannah, for their wanting to hold my hand, the hugs they give me, the love they have for me.
Instead of being upset that I was not with my family in the UK I began to look at the family I have here and be grateful for every single part of them.
I think its human nature that we take for granted the good that we already have
Its just part of life, its a daily thing and unless we are actually looking out for it we miss it.
Imagine if you lost your home, if you lost your health, if you lost your job, if your car broke down, imagine how that would feel.
Then imagine what it would be like to get those things back, how amazing would that feel, how grateful would we be?
So many of us are striving for one more thing, one more holiday, one more pay rise, a better house, a better car………
What about those things we already have?
In one of the many books I read it talked about keeping a gratitude journal.
Where you write down something that you are grateful for every single day.
Now that I have one its amazing how many things there are to write about in that book, how many things I see and how much I used to miss.
It can be as simple as being grateful for the sunshine, for the blue skies, for being able to put the fire on on a cold morning to keep warm.
I now fill my gratitude journal every night before bed and when I go back and read through my past musings I realise that I have so much to be grateful.
That dwelling on the one thing that I felt I wanted was stopping me from seeing all the things I already had.
I now want more than a notebook, I want and love the idea of an actual gratitude journal – I found some that I love for anyone who is interested, check them out here, they are amazing!!!!!
I have also written my own which you can check out here.
I completed a thirty day gratitude challenge back in November.
Some of the things I was grateful for are below.
my husband, the girls, our my pets
holidays together as a family, the ability to travel
money to go for coffee or pay a bill
laughter and happiness
music (an ever present in my life)
my friends and family
There are so many things in life to focus on don’t let it be the bad stuff, the stuff you don’t have that you give your attention to.
Be grateful for everything you have because I can guarantee you someone is looking at your life and wishing it was theirs.
Choose happy, choose fulfilled, choose to be grateful and the way you view the world will change forever.