Wednesday, November 28, 2012


A lot of my friends are doing "Daily Thanks" posts on Facebook and other social media during November.  I was asked why I wasn't doing the same thing, and here's my reply:

You see, I try really hard to be thankful for what I have every day, not just during a certain month of the year.  It isn't always easy, and I don't always succeed, but it is part of my journey toward growing into a better person.  I'm not saying a person who is better than anyone else, but a better version of myself.  I look back at previous versions of myself and am not particularly happy with what I see.  I haven't been a good person at certain times in my life.

Sure, I had justification for my actions at the time.  At least I thought that I did.  The reality is, though, that no matter what the world may do to us, there is nothing controlling how we react to it but ourselves.  For part of my life I wasn't old enough to understand that hurt and pain are just part of living, and that the people who hurt my feelings may not have done so intentionally.  Even the ones who DID do it intentionally weren't really doing it out of dislike of me, but rather out of dislike for things in their own lives that they somehow saw reflected in me.

It is human nature to amplify our own faults when we see them in others.  We hate them in ourselves, but we can't admit that to ourselves so we point to others who have the same faults and use that as reason to dislike the person. 

I've hated a lot about myself in the past.  I hated people who "disrespected" me, because I couldn't respect myself.  I hated people who were obsessed with their looks because I was obsessed with my own and my weight.  I looked down on people who were willfully ignorant because I went out of my way to sabotage my own education.  I've been envious of people who had the things that I thought I wanted, and I have turned my nose up at people who were lazy because I couldn't find the motivation in myself to achieve my own goals.

There has been a lot of hard work, tears, and self-examination that have gone into making myself see what I was, and what I could be.  Sometimes it is hard knowing that I will never fully achieve the best me that could possibly exist, because there will always be something else that I need to do, some other lesson that I need to learn.  When I start to get discouraged by that fact, though, I make myself stop and realize that the never ending learning process is part of being human, and that when we stop growing and stop trying to become more than what we are, we have reached the end of life and are only existing instead of living.

In order to live we have to find joy.  In order to find joy we have to find thanks.  In order to find thanks, we have to acknowledge all of the beauty and good in our lives.  The way that I find it is by lying in bed for a few minutes after my alarm goes off in the morning and finding something to be thankful for.  It doesn't have to be big, and it doesn't have to be said aloud, it just has to mean something to me.  There have been mornings when I have been thankful for the purring of whichever cat is curled next to me.  There have been mornings when I have been thankful that there will be eggs in the fridge when I get up so that I can have breakfast.  There have been mornings when I have been thankful that the sun is shining, the rain is falling, or the earth is still turning.  Sometimes they are big things, and sometimes they are little, but they are all things that make my life a little happier for at least a moment.

If you really want to appreciate your life and the world that you live in, set aside a time every day to be thankful, genuinely and truly thankful, for something in your life.  Whether you put that moment at the start of your day, the end of your day, or sometime in the middle, make it an important part of your routine.  There will be days when life is throwing negative after negative at you, and your emotions will want to say that there is nothing to be thankful for right now, but stop and find something.  Anything.  It doesn't matter what it is, just find it.  I think that you'll discover a whole new way of looking at the world after a while.

I know that I did, and it helped me start the changes that I continue to strive to make.  And if you're doing the November Thankfulness exercises / meme, consider continuing it after December 1st.  You don't have to do it aloud or in a public way, this is something just for you.

I hope that you try, and that this little thing gives you joy. :)

1 comment:

  1. Very well said, Lys. I understand what you mean about being thankful for something every day, big or small. Today is was listening to Earl snore through the wall because that meant he was still with me. Little things, big things, they are all things to be thankful for.



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