Make Gratitude Your Perspective

My favorite song writer shared a new possible original with us today and asked for our thoughts. This song was both music and lyrics, something he’s just beginning to show us. I so adore his talents that it’s very rare for me not to rave, but the lyrics in this song struck a bit of a sour chord with me.

I obviously don’t have the lyrics in front of me to share them with you, or to see and re-read to make sure I remember exactly what they were. But my perception of a part of them was being told that we can choose to be positive or we can choose to be negative.

I explained later, in a message, how much I didn’t agree with that – that we don’t choose our feelings, although I did agree with the lyrics about choosing our actions and reactions. As someone who has dealt with depression (mostly always mild), I can promise you that if it were possible, when feeling negative, to just flip a switch intellectually and feel positive, I’d be first in line to do so! There is too much psycho-babble from therapists, etc., about how supposedly easy it is to change our way of feeling. And I always argue that we can change our way of thinking but that feelings do not come from our brains.

I got a response back clarifying that the writer was meaning to impart the idea of changing our mindset so that we can see and feel positive things. One of the things mentioned was, for example, to focus on the things we are grateful for, with the idea that positive thoughts will impact our mindset and that mindset might change our emotions.

I’m still working that out for myself with regards to the lyrics, but it reminded me that I do, without conscious thought, sometimes turn my focus to things for which I’m grateful. I do that whenever I’m tired of the pity-party I’m allowing myself to have. For example, sometimes I get very caught up in the constant aches, pains and other ailments that are a part of my medical being. When I get tired of listening to my internal voices whine, I consciously remind myself that I’m in much better shape than so many other people. Yes, there may be physical distress, but I’m not paralyzed and unable to feel anything. And yes, my knees may hurt at times, but my legs aren’t amputated so that my knees have no real function or purpose.

I complain about living in a 200+ old building and that things are antiquated and will probably never see modernization. I have to run the tap in the bathtub for 4 or 5 minutes before hot water starts to come out so I can take my shower. I have to rely on a window air conditioner for relief from the heat. I have to deal with old cast iron radiators for heat, which take up room in what is already a small space. But hey, I’m not homeless – I’m not sleeping on a cardboard box somewhere with no relief of any kind for any type of weather.

Those thoughts put my complaints in perspective quickly and help me to remember how much worse off I could be in so many ways. They force me to stop and really focus on what is positive in my life instead of what is negative, and I quickly move away from my “woe is me” mindset.

So, in that sense – in what he intended the lyrics to mean – I absolutely agree with the message and I look forward to hearing the song again with that in mind. I’m sure I’ll appreciate it much more.

Meanwhile, this chance to think about how gratitude can change our perspective is something we all need to learn how to do. I’m not saying that, at times, our lives don’t “suck”, but if we take a moment to think consciously about how others are suffering more than we are – at whatever we’re suffering – it changes how important we perceive our suffering in a way that makes the suffering at least bearable.

So, what do you find yourself complaining about? Think about people who have it worse than you do, and I promise you’ll feel better!

Words of Gratitude

I’m sure you, or someone you know, has uttered words similar to, “Thank you seems so inadequate for what you’ve done”. That’s exactly how I felt after reading the so many positive comments to my last post. It wasn’t difficult to write that post. Every thought that was put down was something that was in the forefront of both my mind and heart. I believe it was necessary to write the words, if only that it gave them voice. Publishing it, however, was another story. I was terrified that people would read it and, beyond a reasonable doubt, discover that I was an emotionally messed-up person pretending to be a strong and rational adult. I don’t think I thought I would see a bunch of negative comments, more that no one would “like” it, much less respond with support and understanding.

Those who have followed my blog for a long while know that it has moved from starting out with the desire to write deliciously descriptive posts that would allow the readers to use their imaginations in creating visual pictures from those words. Then, it turned into being somewhat of a ‘food blog” as I shared recipes and kitchen hacks. Lately, it seems to have developed into a self-growth exploration. I don’t know how long that genre will last, since the idea of being constantly vulnerable with strangers isn’t really appealing.

But, back to my subject….. So many of you made such supportive comments. Many of you also shared that you struggle with the same issue! You can’t begin to know the impact of your words on me! I was relatively sure I was a weirdo for having this issue, and certain no one else could even begin to know the impact of that struggle. But I’m not alone – and if I’m a weirdo, I’m not the only one! (Shout-out to all the weirdos!!!!)

The love and support of your comments wrapped itself around me and took me to a place of safety in being okay with myself despite this struggle. “Thank you” is truly inadequate to express my gratitude for this most generous gift! My heart aches to find the words to truly tell you how much your support has changed me. But until those words appear by magic, know that I hold that love and support tight in my heart….

Gratitude for the Small Things

In these trouble times, in our country and all around the world, it’s easy for all of us to grumble about what’s going on. But this morning, I took a moment to be grateful for an object I have in my home, and it led me on a journey to find other things, that I often take for granted, for which to be thankful.

I’m thankful for my Brita pitcher. My Keurig works better with filtered water, and I drink water which I prefer to taste like, well, like nothing! Store shelves last week were empty of all of the gallons of spring/distilled water, and the cases of bottled water were flying from the shelves at a rapid pace (I saw one couple loading 4 cases into their vehicle). My trusty Brita pitcher, which I never think about being a big deal, is something I can be grateful for!

I’m grateful that I don’t buy much from – or care for shopping at – our local Walmart. I buy my paper and cleaning products there, so when I’m getting a little low on something, I stock up on everything I might be running a little low on in the near future at the same time. Yes, eventually I will run low again (toilet paper will probably be the first thing, heaven forbid!), but I’m good for a least 2 more weeks, and there are other brands at the grocery store I can purchase if need be. So yea, I’m grateful that I don’t like shopping at Walmart and make certain I’m well stocked when I DO shop there!

I’m grateful that I’m a “nester” by instinct each winter, so my pantry is also in decent shape. This would be the time I would start letting things run down, with spring to come sometime soon. I’m the same way with my freezer foods. If it wouldn’t be for the fact that I use milk in my coffee, I could stay away from the grocery stores for a good month or more before things started to look like Mother Hubbard’s cupboards!

I’m grateful that my medications, except for one, come in 90-day supplies. I’m also grateful that my drug store has a drive-thru window for medication pickup, so I don’t have to worry about social distance when I do need to get a refill.

I’m grateful that I have a large to-be-read pile of books. Yes, sometimes I’m grumpy about wondering if I’ll ever get through them, but I’m grateful to know they are there to entertain me.

I’m grateful that I’m a homebody by nature. My calendar remains largely clear of things to do except doctor appointments, hair appointments and nail appointments. I’m a little sad that my bestie and I decided to cancel our monthly lunch date, because I really enjoy that one-on-one time in person. But we’ve got emails and texts and a standing monthly lunch date, so we will keep in contact and eventually reconnect in person for that quality time.

I’m grateful for the electronic technology that often makes me want to pull my hair out, but also allows me to stay in contact with friends, even those scattered across the globe, and I am savvy enough to be able to do my banking needs online.

I’m grateful that, except for the grocery store and occasional trips to the thrift stores, I don’t like shopping in general. This gal will suffer no withdrawal from all of the stores being closed!

If I put some thought into it, I could easily come up with more things that I take for granted in my normal, everyday life – and I think with a little thought, you, too, could find things in your life that, during this time, you should be grateful for. In fact, I encourage you to take a little time and discover what they are in YOUR life. Turn the negativity into positive feelings about your blessings, even the smallest ones. Your psyche will appreciate you if you do!