Yesterday A number of years ago, I thought of myself as a princess. No I’m not delusional. I didn’t ACTUALLY think I was a princess (out loud). I liked to spend time daydreaming about what my life could be like if I weren’t stuck in the situation that I was in.
Usually I was feeling depressed and alone or broke and self-loathing. When I was feeling those things, I would do 1 of any 3 different things (and sometimes, probably all 3). I would either (1) eat junk food, (2) shop or (3) dream of a different life.
Afterwards I would feel 1 of 3 things, either (1) disgusting because I was full, (2) guilty for spending money I didn’t have or (3) depressed because I couldn’t change my life.
I never once felt grateful.
Not one time when I was really low and feeling pitiful did I take the time to look at what I have in my life.
It wasn’t often during my particularly dark days of debt (can we call it the DDD?) was I able to truly look at the positive parts of my life and express gratitude.
I started out writing this post about a dream I have to win the trip to the Great Barrier Reef that ProBlogger is giving away. I wanted to talk about my dream of seeing the world. I wanted to share about how the top four lines on my bucket list would be crossed off with just this trip alone. But as I was typing, something else came to my mind, the word “gratitude.”
I have spent so much of my life being sad over my lot in life, feeding the emotions that developed due to self pity that I haven’t really taken the time to realize what I do that is wonderful.
I try with my boys to help them become grateful beings. They have a bank that they must put a portion of their money in each pay day that is earmarked as “Give.” We are focusing on The Ronald McDonald House. I have spoke to them about the purpose of this charity and how we are very lucky for what we have. We may not have the newest of toys or go on vacations but we are healthy and we don’t have to worry about our loved one being very sick.
I have taught this to my boys but I haven’t heard it in my own heart. So many times when others have complimented me, I have responded with “Thank you but…” I have taken a brief moment of positivity and flipped it over into something negative.
I’ve been doing this flip flop my entire life.
Finding Grace in a Sea of Pity
In recent years, I have worked diligently to not turn compliments into something negative. I have not always succeeded but I have been trying. The other day when a fellow grad student noticed my (now over) 20 pound weight loss, instead of replying with “I have so much more to go,” I simply said “thank you, I have been working hard.” I kept that moment positive and when I walked away, I was feeling good rather than feeling negative because I still have over 50 pounds to lose.
In my financial life, I have always taken a negative moment and flipped it into something positive using credit. When the person I was interested in during college was seen with a younger, better looking girl, I went shopping for new clothes. I didn’t do this consciously, but it happened, a lot. I could have thought of something positive about myself, like “I’m not the girl for him (back then it was still “him’s”) but someday I’ll be THE girl for someone else.”
Today I am choosing to find gratitude in the negative.
From here on out, when a negative situation presents itself, I am going to consciously find a moment of grace and gratitude. And when I find that thought, I am going to write it down.
I want to start with my first one now.
04/17/2012 – I am so lucky to be in a position to go to Australia, should I win the contest being offer at ProBlogger. I am lucky that even if I don’t win it, I will still be going on an amazing vacation those very same days. I am lucky that no matter what I do, there is a week in June that I am going to have the time of my life.
If it’s not I who goes to Australia, then I hope the 10 that do will have the time of their lives. I can’t wait to read all about their trips.
I am so grateful to the person that has a bigger heart than anyone I know and who has helped make some of my dreams come true.
Your turn, take something negative that has happened recently and put a positive spin on it. Write it down and read it regularly. I am going to do this every day and reread it regularly. (Those of you who were at FinCon last year, I’m literally off to grab my awesome green journal, courtesy of Ramit and I’m going to use it is as my Gratitude Journal. Now you can picture it!)
Photo Credit: Robynlou8 on Flickr
You can still enter my giveaway for the book Food Fights. Ends 4/23/2012.
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