By: Kimberly Babin
When I look back on my personal Journey, I remember coming across that golden word “gratitude” over and over again. I will be a little vulnerable here, and let you know I used to cringe at that word. I was in such a low place, and was trying to pull myself up, and that little “gratitude” word really hit a sensitive spot. It broke my heart each time I read an article, listened to a podcast, or read a book that said one thing I needed to focus on was gratitude. It broke my heart because when I looked around at my life, my circumstance, my environment, my relationships, what I mostly found was pain and loss. It is easy to be grateful when things are amazingly good, but when you are at a low point, it is hard to find gratitude.
I may not have felt I had much to be grateful for, but I did have hope. I had hope and a willingness to try, to acknowledge the pain, acknowledge the loss, and still look for the good. I began opening my eyes to the tiny little pieces of my life that were things I was thankful for, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant. A magical thing started happening the more I focused on what I had to be grateful for…the good things started growing.
While the results felt magical, it all comes down to a basic science. It is action and reaction, cause and effect. Just like a garden, we can look at our lives and say this flower is one I love and I want to grow, and this weed that cause trouble needs to go. When we focus on the good, we can tend and nurture it. We also start to value it, protect it, and carefully remove things that are threatening its well-being.
I understand that you may experience a feeling of resistance to this idea. I know how it is to love something, appreciate it, and still lose it. Life has a theme of impermanence. Even our most tended to flowers, can die. However it is the art of practicing gratitude that can allow new beautiful things to grow.
Practicing gratitude allows us not to dwell on losses, but rather focus on creating a nature of resilience within oneself. We often to relate the negative or mundane aspects of life to being “real” and equate the good and great with being “fake”. Being grateful takes an understanding and belief that both negatives and positives may be impermanent and that both are equally real or fake. Once we understand this, we can come to a further understanding that our perceptions are a choice. We can choose to be miserable or we can choose to be grateful and happy and one is no more real or fake than the other. Why do we often choose to give pain a reality and not our joy?
For many of us, living in the dark has become comfortable and when we venture into the light, we aren’t quite sure about it. We don’t initially trust it and we run back to the small dark corners we had been longing to escape. If you find yourself struggling living a life of gratitude, because it isn’t what you are used to, it is ok. It doesn’t change the fact that what you truly want is out there, and will be yours. Venture on the side of thankfulness, and positivity, in small ways, a little each day, and eventually you will trust in it enough to turn your life over to the grateful side.
If you want your relationships to improve, your health and wellbeing to heal, your life to FEEL GOOD, start practicing gratitude, right now! Find one small thing that you can be grateful for and follow it, focus on it, and hold it in your heart above the pain above the loss. Watch what shifts! Get that gratitude. Let me know what happens!
Photo Credit: Photography By Erin B.