Gratitude and How it has Changed my Life
Gratitude is defined by the dictionary as the “quality of being thankful, returned show of appreciation and “the return of kindness”.
The benefits of practicing gratitude can help shift the way one looks at the world in a positive way. The great American Essayest and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson has this to say about Gratitude, “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
I began recording what I was grateful for in a gratitude journal as a way to help me form new social relationships. Since the death of my sister and my parents, I found myself spending way to much time alone, never going out and I knew I needed to do something, anything that would help bring me back to the Land of the Living. Now there are some people who participate in gratitude exercises that may be more pro-social than others, but not me J. However, I am making progress.
The other day, I went out to my nail salon and it was so quiet in there that I was compelled to make some noise. Since the owner knows me, I was comfortable engaging in some crazy loud antics, all centered around choosing a nail color. When I walked in, the owner says to me “manicure and pedicure” and my reply is, “just gel manicure”. She says, “ P-I-C-K C-O-L-O-R”, and it’s hilarious as we BOTH are using an Asian accent, but only one of us is Asian. LOL!
Since she was busy, she asked me to wait a few minutes before she came over to remove my gel color. Keeping up with the schtick, she asks me what color I want and I said maybe blue. She offers me additional colors that may interest me and she said dark blue or ocean blue. I said to her that might be what you like, but what about what I like?. The customers were laughing and enjoying our conversation. They told me I was so pleasant and one lady even asked me if I was coming back again. I told her I that I ‘play’ there every two weeks. She said she wanted to make her appointment when I do, because I was so funny. Now for someone who has been silent for so long, this is the best reaction ever.
It makes me so glad that I took the initiative to get out of my house and put myself in social situations with strangers. Who knows, maybe I will meet new friends through these acquaintances.
I was more than hurt when my best friend of 10 years decided to exit my life and our long standing friendship at the exact moment I needed her most. During what was surely, the darkest time of my life, her silence was deafening. There was NO ONE to hold me, talk to me, help me. I was ALONE with a Capital A! That blow was like another death to me and at the time, there was no way I would have been able to find a speck of gratitude in that situation, but years later, I can look back now and see the blessing for what it was. I thought she had robbed me of something in her abandonment, but what she did, was give me a GIFT.
You see, I would never have known just how strong I was, without that lesson. Sure we all rely on our friends, but you know what? We can be our ‘own’ best friend and if we dig down deep enough I KNOW that each of us can tap into a wellspring of strength and fortitude.
So, while it truly saddens me to lose a dear friend, I guess today I am happy that we have gone separate ways. Obviously she wasn’t as good a friend as I thought she was, and her absence has left a space my life for someone wonderful to walk in and fill that position of BFF. I wonder who it will be? You know, I am looking forward to that now, something I couldn’t say even last year.
Many of us stay stuck in the past, continuously looking backward and living that pain of rejection over and over. I invite you to move forward with me and utilize the strengths you do have. Focus on what you have been given by the world.
Keeping a Gratitude journal helps me build better relationships with my present AND my future acquaintances and friends. Writing down my thoughts and what I am grateful for at the end of the day, reminds me of events or actions that I might have dismissed or forgotten with time. I have no doubt that it will surely help you too.
Simply being grateful for being alive is a great way to motivate oneself to seize the day. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and this perspective can be a strong motivator for some people to let go of what isn’t working and be grateful for what is. I know from living through my own traumatic events, that life is too short. Today, I am live each day as if it is my last day. I do not take them for granted. This is the life that has been given to me and I am grateful to wake up to a new day, every day for as many days that God grants me.
If you have ever experienced a friend or family member you are close to, abandon you in your time of need I would love for you to share your story with me. Also, I would love to hear your reactions about this post and any thoughts you have on what happened to me with my best friend. I will respond to each comment…. Sandra