Three months ago I committed to the daily practice of gratitude.
At first, it did not feel normal. It was forced. It felt fake.
But that saying Fake it til you make it is a saying for a reason, I guess.
This daily gratitude practice isn’t a big time commitment. It takes maybe a minute or two each morning.
We all have a minute or two.
Every morning I write down three things I’m grateful for in my journal.
Sometimes I’m grateful for an experience I had with the kids or special people in my life who helped me in a particular way the day before. Something out of the ordinary.
Other times when I am really struggling, I have to bring it back to the basics.
I’m grateful for a roof over my head.
I’m grateful for electricity and running water.
But now, three months into this practice, it doesn’t feel forced.
And if I oversleep or wake up late and have to rush right into getting the kids ready for school and don’t have a couple minutes of solitude in my office to focus on gratitude before I do anything else, I miss it. I feel off.
So I can say with confidence that practicing gratitude has become a habit.
And now that it’s become a habit, something else is happening.
My entire mindset is shifting.
When things don’t go my way, I am noticing a change.
Three months ago I would stew over these things. I would focus on every single thing that wasn’t perfect.
I would complain. A lot. To anyone. And everyone.
I’d rehash the same stuff over and over and over.
That is changing.
And now, when I find myself entering This is bullshit and people are stupid mode, I catch myself.
And more often than not, I am able to remind myself that there is a lesson in whatever is happening to me.
I am meant to learn something from it. The Universe is giving me a gentle nudge.
Or sometimes a big kick in the ass.
So this gratitude practice has had a domino effect on me.
It is helping me to see very clearly that happiness is a choice.
Happiness doesn’t come from money or the perfect marriage. It doesn’t come from a neat house or obedient kids or a size 2 pair of jeans.
Happiness is an inside job.
I didn’t actually connect these dots until yesterday when Number 3 came home from school.
I was cleaning up in the kitchen and getting him a snack, and he said to me,
“Mom… You are so much happier lately. Do you know that? You’re singing all the time and you’re just… really happy.”
I was blown away by this.
Because nothing in my life has changed.
Our financial situation is very very far from ideal. My marriage is still struggling.
Nothing has changed on the outside.
But on the inside, I am changing.
And I didn’t actually realize it until Number 3 pointed it out.
I find myself dwelling less and less on how far from ideal my life is, and instead, I genuinely believe I am being presented with opportunities.
Rather than complain incessantly about them, I choose to embrace them.
Most of them, anyway. It’s still a process.
But I’m learning.
And I feel lighter. Being pissed and angry and focusing on the so-called bullshit constantly is exhausting.
Slowly but surely, from the inside out, the changes are happening.
Practicing gratitude is changing me. My kids don’t know I’m doing this.
But they clearly notice a difference.
And I think that’s the first thing I’ll write down on my gratitude list tomorrow, first thing in the morning.