I’m not going to lie: I’ve been in the dumps this month, partly because I ate everything and it shows but also just … well, the crapfest we call life these days. It seems like every day something happens to anger and/or frighten me. We live in scary times and sometimes I fall victim to the fear and go low. But for my sanity, my soul, I cannot live this way and find myself turning to gratitude to help me heal and find the light again.
I Need Gratitude More Than Ever
I’ve written about gratitude many times, from gratitude exercises to daily affirmations to living your best life. While I’m not an expert by any means, it remains one of my guiding principles because when gratitude fills me, I feel different. My energy and vibrations feel positive and powerful and the smile on my face is genuine. I also know that it’s my nature to place the weight of the world on my shoulders, so when things go bad — even things outside of my control — my first reaction is not optimism but despair and fear. If I’m not mindful of this, I wind up stuck in that dark place, which happened to me this month.
Lately, I’ve been focused on all the stuff that sucks and it’s a long, horrifying list. I’m not going to stick my head in the sand and give-up but I am, however, going to make a conscious effort to be more grateful to give me strength to see both the bad and good versus just the bad. And to always remember that every time ugliness and evil seemed unstoppable, good people rose up and reclaimed the world. I will rise up because I will not be defeated by fear or hate.
Yes, I’m really, really excited about the Black Panther movie.
2 Things I am Grateful Today and Every Day
I am grateful for so much: my family, my friends, Max (and all the cats I’ve loved), flip-flops, indoor plumbing … to name just a few things. But I want to focus on two blessings that are overlooked because they are so easily taken for granted.
1. I am Grateful to Be Alive, Here and Now
I certainly romanticize different time periods but I am grateful to be alive in 2018. Our world is not perfect, far from it, but we are so blessed with so many advantages and can connect in ways our ancestors never imagined possible. The world is truly our oyster with endless possibilities. As individuals, we must use this privilege wisely because we can make the world better or worse as we have never been more powerful. The world is so big, yet so tiny, and I am honored to be alive now.
I am grateful for so much: the warm sun on my skin, blue skies, cool breeze, blooming flowers, soft pillows and cozy bed, full belly and hot water. For a doctor who can prescribe medicine when ill to a laptop that connects me to the world to books that entertain me for hours to a car that takes me wherever I want to go. I am blessed.
2. I am Grateful to Be Free to Be Me
I’m well aware there are pockets in this world, and sadly right here in the U.S. too, where people are not free to speak their mind or to live their truth without fear. My heart breaks for them, which is why I give thanks every day that I am free to be me, even though I’m probably the most boring person in the world. Regardless, I embrace these truths: Goodness is not determined by skin color, religion, gender or sexual orientation; You and I are born worthy; and The American Dream is for everyone. While there are moments, too many sometimes, where these celebrated American beliefs seem under attack, I remain free to stand and speak against hate and oppression.
I am free to be me: a crazy cat lady, a depression survivor, beloved daughter and sister, Korean-American (thanks Mom and Dad for adopting me, so yes, I’m a first generation immigrant and proud of it), a book nerd, movie buff, foodie and most of all — a progressive who believes in equality, compassion and that diversity is a blessing, not a curse or crime.
Full of Gratitude and Ready to Fight
I needed this reminder (and hopefully you did as well) that amidst the craziness of the world today, we can still choose to appreciate and see the blessings in our life because they do exist. Our world is brutal, cruel and unfair and also beautiful, generous and loving. We cannot ignore either side but we can choose to see and be grateful for the goodness in the world. And most importantly — use it as fuel to shine a light on darkness and hate.
What are you most grateful for, especially during dark times?
kathy @ more coffee, less talky says
1) lupita can do no wrong. she is SO gorgeous and a great actress.
2) i’m grateful for life. for having what i have and for those who are in my life. all too often we want more more more and that leads to unhappiness. we all need to stop and look around to appreciate what we already have; to be content with the fact that we have food, clothes on our back, fresh/clean drinking water, a little money in the bank for fun stuff. everything else is a bonus.
Lupita is gorgeous and incredibly talented and I can’t wait to see her kill it in Black Panther! I am very guilty spending way too much comparing my life to others versus focusing on what I have and can do with my own life. Gratitude definitely helps me remember my many blessings and to focus on what I have and can do versus how I stack up to others.
Rebecca Jo says
Even on the dark days, That’s when you gotta find the things that are still good. They’re always there, always.
Love,everything about this.
You should totally add it to my link up today for thankful Thursday ❤
YES! On my darkest days is when I need gratitude the most. It is, of course, when it can be the hardest to find it but we all have so much to be grateful for – if we look for it!
Jana @ Jana Says says
This. ALL OF THIS.
Can I give your mom and dad a hug for adopting you and raising such an amazing person I’m proud to have as a friend?
Awwww ,,, you’re making me (and them) blush. But they did do a pretty good job with me. Of course, I am totally awesome, which made it so easy for them. I also very humble. 😀 I’m proud to have you as a friend too, Jana!
This whole thing is a great reminder. I like your voice and tone throughout the whole thing. I think you’re really good at focusing on your own gratitude. When I came home from India (in 2012) I cried all the time. I thought about how gorgeous and stable and protective our home and churches and supermarkets were. I was grateful for the dang WALLS around me. It was a crazy perspective that my brain forced itself into. It’s easy to overlook the things we have that others just plain don’t.
Oh gosh. One of my mentors spent a lot of time in India and told some amazing stories about her time there, especially how selfless the people were. How they had nothing and yet if they had a banana, they wanted to share it with you. While we, in the land with all the bananas we could ever want, would hoard them. So true. It’s so important that we remember how lucky we are to have things we take for granted: electricity, clean water, a warm bed, food and most importantly — freedom and opportunity.
Nancy @ NY Foodie Family says
I’ve actually been focusing on the positive around me this year. For the first time this year I started keeping a gratitude journal and every night I find three things, no matter how small, to be grateful for. There is too much craziness and negativity going on in the world that I have to focus on the good.
I need to restart my gratitude journal. I constantly start and abandon them but I need to stop doing that. It makes a huge difference! Like you said, so much craziness and it helps me stay positive and keep a better perspective against all the insanity.
Yes to all of this.
I decided to start sharing monthly gratitude posts on my blog for this very reason. It’s so easy to get caught up in the scary bullshit that seems to surround us (as well as in any personal failures, whether large or small). I know it’s not good for my mental health to get caught up in those things, so those posts are my way of giving myself a little monthly feel good boost. And if it inspires someone else or simply makes them feel good? Even better!
Thanks for sharing this post. 🙂
Awesome, Kristen! What a great idea and I’m looking forward to reading your monthly gratitude posts. It is so easy to get caught up in all the crap that’s going on – EVERY SINGLE DAY! It’s exhausting and overwhelming and it’s most definitely not good for our mental health. I definitely know whenever I see/read someone people grateful, it makes me feel good and give thanks for all my blessings!