Monday, October 15, 2012

Gratitude in Small Packages

This year during our 40 Days of Thankfulness Challenge, we will be showcasing one gratitude warriors' testimony each week. We feel that it's important for you to see that we all struggle with being thankful. During week 2, you may find that you days are just not meeting the expectations you had for them. 

We seem to struggle each year during our own 40 Day Challenge. We want you to know: this is normal. At a certain point you begin to feel uncomfortable with being grateful when things aren't going your way, when you are sick, during the loss of a loved one, during a conflict within a special relationship, or when you just feel alone on the island. 

We want you to see that through our friend, Maria's story, she's continued to press on even when she struggled doing her thankful posts. This struggle, this uncomfortableness is WHERE THE CHANGE IN YOU HAPPENS. 

Here's Maria's story: 

In the beginning I used to sit and think of something to write.  Seriously.  Sometimes I felt like my day had been so "bad" that I didn't have anything to showcase.  I wanted every post to be a huge deal.  Something big and bold and wonderful that I was grateful for.

I've learned it doesn't matter how big or little the gratitude is, but rather just the fact that I remember to be positive.  As I posted more and more about my daily gratitudes, most reactions were positive, and many people asked me about them.  Some even joined in for a while.  I must admit, I felt a bit of pride that some had joined, but I also learned that it wasn't necessary.  My gratitudes are for me.  I need to focus on the positive aspects of my life among the chaos and confusion that come from a busy family and professional life.

So, this begs the question, why make them public if they are for personal use.  Well, I struggled over this a bit.  Not just with my days of gratitude, but also amongst questions regarding my Random Acts of Christmas Kindness.  I think I may even still be struggling with it.  Here is what I came up with...why not?  Is there a reason to NOT share happiness with others?  Is there a reason to keep my positive attitude to myself?  Can positivity truly offend people?  And the more important question:  should I continue to make my positive thoughts public if all reactions are not supportive?

The change for me over the past two years has been slow, but steady.  When I now sit to type a gratitude, I find it difficult to highlight just one.  Is that a change for me?  You bet.  No more pity parties.  Even on my worst day, I have a home full of healthy children, a loving husband, a satisfying job, and everything I need in life, and even some things I don't need.  Sure, I may have gotten stuck in traffic, spilled my coffee,  forgotten my purse, forgot to sign a permission slip, and snapped at my hubbie on the way out the door.  Yes, over the past few years I have forgotten to put the laundry in the dryer, ran out of dog food, had a disagreement (or hundreds) with family and friends, copied the wrong page of homework, missed a deadline, and cleaned up countless messes from dogs, students, children, and yes, even a potty training two year old.  I mean, I am human afterall.  But, are these the things that I want to define the person that I am?

I have come to a greater understanding that I need to focus on the important parts of life, and if typing one sentence on Facebook each day helps me to remember that, then I will continue.

PRESS ON! At the end of the 40 Days, you'll be so glad you did! 

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