The unstoppable force of gratitude
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. This was not the way things were supposed to turn out. This was not what you signed up for. Yet here you are. Soon to be 40, married with three kids. A regular job and a mortgaged house on the countryside.
- Eat well (whatever that is considering all the diets that are out there).
- Exercise (downloading a new, shiny workout app doesn’t qualify as actual workout).
- Keep up appearances (don’t let anyone see what’s behind the smile).
What if you just up and leave?
Just walk out of the door and disappear. You could do that. Other people have done so. Even though it’s forbidden, you could still just leave.
What’s stopping you?
Perhaps the notion that the grass is most definitely not greener on the other side. And if it is, rest assured it’s artificial, genetically modified or drenched with pesticides.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking there is such a thing as a carefree life just waiting around the corner. No, there’s just as much crap, gossip and people that will bring you down. They might speak another language or have a funny accent, but they are still the same.
OK, so leaving isn’t an option. How do you break out from your depressing prison and make your life worth living again? As corny as it sounds, it’s the truth:
You have to start with YOU!
You cannot change the world. You cannot change the people around you. Don’t bother trying. But YOU can change. And only you can make that change.
Start with something small. Don’t go for world peace at once. That’s not your job. Why not start with being grateful? Be grateful for some small thing.
- Be grateful that you didn’t step in your neighbor’s cat’s poo on your lawn when you got home last night. It’s probably still there, so you’ll get a second chance tomorrow.
- Be grateful that you woke up again this morning. That you didn’t have a fatal aneurysm during the night. It could happen, you know. I’m not saying that you should worry about it happening. The chances are very slim that it will happen to you (if you are male, smoker and older than 65, maybe you should be a little worried).
- Be grateful that you have someone in your life who appreciates you. Surrounding yourself with people who are positive and inspiring helps you keep a positive outlook on life.
“So what?! I’m just going to walk around all day and be grateful for every little butterfly that I see? That’s so lame! No one can go around all day just being grateful. It’s not natural. Bad things happen, you know. Not everything that occurs is something to be grateful about! I’m going to stay negative if I want to. No one is going to tell me what to do. Gratitude! Bah!”
Fine. You keep your negative mentality. That’s fine by me. I, on the other hand, have chosen a different path. And you know what? I like this path that I’m on. I really like it. It has made me feel way better about myself than I have for a long time.
Am I perfect?
No, there are times when I let a negative mindset get a hold of me. Sometimes it’s difficult to be grateful when bad things happen. I might dwell on the negative for a while, feel a bit sorry for myself.
But the difference is that I don’t let those emotions have power over me. Instead, I turn the situation around and find something to be grateful about. Then the negative emotions can scream as loud as they want. I don’t hear them because my feelings of gratitude are working as hearing protection. Sometimes it’s not easy to find something to be grateful about. But as you practice, you will become better and it will be easier.
There really is no other way than to practice being grateful. What’s the alternative? Feeling miserable all the time? Having all of those negative emotions piling up?
Dwelling on the negative might feel good for a day, but in the long run it will wear you down. One thing is for sure, it will not do you any good. None whatsoever.
I practice being grateful every day. I’m grateful that I can go for a walk in a beautiful landscape and watch the sun set. I’m grateful that my son in his eager attempts, at least managed to successfully breed two butterflies this summer. And yes, I’m grateful for my family, my house (even though it’s mortgaged) and my job. And I’m also grateful that I will be turning 40 next year.
So I intend to continue being grateful and see how far a positive mindset will take me. I think I will be pretty unstoppable. And so will you.
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