During the low times of my life, I have always used gratitude to pull me back to a place of balance. Thinking about the things in my life that I have to be grateful for aways lifts me up out of my "oh poor me" attitude that can carry me down into depression and keep me there drowning in my own feelings of shame and pity. Gratitude brings to mind the miracles in my life. It reminds me of all of the wonderful people that love and support me.
One of those miracles has to do with when I left home at 19. I finally had the courage to face my dad. I knew in my heart that if I didn't leave right then, that I would never get away from the abuse. Here is the miracle. When I told a college friend that I was leaving, she offered me a place to live for the summer and offered to help me get my first job. I took her up on her offer.
As determined as I was, if God had not put her in my path, I would have been out on the streets, on my own. I knew that if I didn't leave the abuse behind right then, that I would have died, maybe not physically, but definitely emotionally. My spirit would have died. God has always put someone like this friend in my life whenever I have needed the outside love and support. I will forever be grateful to this friend. I had only known her for a few months. We were in several classes at a junior college together. She had a daughter my age. I lived with this family for 3 months and found out what "normal" was.
I remember an Oprah show where she gave everyone in her audience a gratitude journal to write down 5-10 things every day that they were grateful for. I liked the idea so much that for Christmas that year, I gave gratitude journals to all of my friends and some of my family members.
That year I wrote my own gratitude journal including 5 things I was grateful for each day. When I make a gratitude list and start the day with doing this, it affects my attitude for the entire day. What a wonderful way to start the day.
June 15, 2007
I made the decision to start my own gratitude journal starting today with the following 5 entries:
1. I am grateful for the love of my husband.
2. I am grateful that I have the love and support of my family and friends as I learn to be me.
3. I am grateful for all of the special people that God has put in my life when I needed a guiding hand, a teacher, or a life saver.
4. I am grateful for the joy of writing.
5. I am grateful for the opportunities to grow closer to the God of my understanding.
June 16, 2007
1. I am grateful for the inspiration that keeps coming my way.
2. I am grateful for my curiosity about life.
3. I am grateful for my thirst for knowledge.
4. I am grateful for my friends.
5. I am grateful for Daniel's (my husband) patience.
June 17, 2007
This morning, I actually remembered to start the day with writing these out instead of remembering later in the day. I had a joy filled and very productive day by setting my mood with these things to be grateful for.
1. I am grateful that I don't have to be perfect.
2. I am especially grateful for the bad things that happened to me in my childhood because they molded me into the compassionate, wonderfully caring, loving person that I am today.
3. I am grateful for my parents who were my greatest teachers.
4. I am grateful for the lessons that my children and grandchildren teach me.
5. I am grateful for my journey through this lifetime.
6. I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know the real, inner me.
Yes, there are 6 instead of 5. Didn't one of the above say, "I am grateful that I don't have to be perfect."
I challenge everyone that is reading this to start your own gratitude journal and let me know how this writing affects your life. Start each day by writing between 5-10 things that you are grateful for. If you forget one day, double up the next. Just do it. You will be glad that you did.
If you want more information about gratitude and its effects on you read the following 2 articles: