Two simple words, Thank You, can make an enormous difference to the way we feel about ourselves and our life. There is a reason I try to remember to use a capital Y in You. It is a little memory tick that reminds me of respect and the significance of the other person. Being happy does not make us grateful. It is gratitude that makes us feel great. There has been much research which has show that gratitude contributes to happiness and self confidence. So why don't we do it more? For me it was the lack of awareness and the unhelpful negative way of thinking I had made a habit. I had not given much thought to these unhelpful habits and certainly had no understanding about how I could change them.
I now understand how important it is for me to remember to be grateful. We are all interdependent and if were not for the kindness of others we would not be alive, let alone surviving. It is easy to slip into habits of negativity and taking things for granted, that negative, everything is going wrong spiral. We can pull ourselves out of this by instead noticing the things that are going right, finding the silver lining in the cloud. Being grateful is a great way to overcome feeling down.
It is easy for us to be grateful when we stop and think about our amazing lives and everything others are doing for us all the time. We would not be able to survive a second without the kindness of others. For many years i was in the unhelpful habit of waking up thinking with dread about all I had to do at work etc. It took a while of retraining, but now I wake and think about all the things I am grateful for, including waking up! This is a much more fun way to start the day and gets me going on the right foot.
Each morning when I have my coffee I like to remember to be grateful for those involved. When we think about something like a cup of coffee we often don't consider those many people who have contributed to it. The farmers who grew, harvested the beans, those who processed, packed, shipped and transported them, the barista who made them into my cup of coffee, those who made the mug etc. And everything is like this! I have so many reasons to be grateful. I could easily choose to focus on the fact it was not the perfect temperature I like instead,which is not helpful to my peace of mind or happiness. Choosing to be grateful and noticing all the kind things others are doing for us all the time is fun and contributes to our happiness.. We can be creative and think broadly and make that our default position instead of negativity and taking things for granted.
Some things that have helped me are understandings like ....
Some things I like to try to remember are
I am grateful to you for allowing me to share with you. Thank You.
Do you ever work so hard that you reach the point of exasperation, overwhelm or exhaustion? Those of you who know me, will certainly know I do this. The last couple of weeks have been really full, with lots happening. I came to the weekend and sat down to write this blog and was reminded of the importance of taking a rest in order to re-charge and replenish. So instead of writing my usual long blog I decided to take the dog for a walk. There is nothing like a walk outside in nature and the fresh air to recharge those tired batteries and the dog enjoyed it too.
So this week I am going to suggest because you don't have a long blog to read you have some extra time to do something to help you refresh and recharge. You might want to
Taking the time to fill our own well allows us to keep being able to give to others and makes us a lot nicer to be around
Have you ever put a lot of effort into something and it hasn't worked out how you had expected or hoped and you are left feeling disappointed or let down? I have several reminders of this recently. Reminders like
Some very helpful advice I received many years ago related to expectation is,
A. Allow the feeling. My friend disappointment is here to teach me a few things.
Don't believe those untrue thoughts associated with this feeling
C. Connect with kindness to yourself and others
D. Do. Helpful things to do may include
Do you ever get yourself busy in order to distract yourself from what you know would be best for you to be doing or feeling? Doing this blog post on 'busyness and distraction' would be distracting me from what would be best for me to share this week. So instead, I am going to share feeling sad about my emptying family nest and the importance of allowing feelings.
It is important to allow our feelings rather than to ignore or suppress them or equally unhelpfully to express them in unhelpful ways with blame and criticism of others or ourselves.
Sometimes we need to have a good cry or to connect with others for help and support. It is important to understand however that it is never helpful to over indulge these negative feelings or to express them inappropriately. We can be unkind, blame, or criticise ourselves with untrue negative self-talk and do the same to others too.
It is helpful to remember we need the negative emotions as much as we need the positive ones. How could we know happiness if we did not experience sadness. We need the light and dark and to learn to be brave enough to look at our darker side in order to shine the light of wisdom on it.
This weekend I have had my second 'chicken' leave the family nest. I have had some sadness come up and have been processing this situation.
When the feeling of sadness came up for me this week I forgot much of the helpful wise advice I have been given and slipped into some unhelpful habits. I fortunately remembered this sad feeling was going to keep popping up to remind me to stop pushing it away and to accept, allow and listen to the message it has for me. I could then learn a more helpful way to relate to it.
I am so thankful to my son for the beautiful reminder and to you all for allowing me to share my experience.
Some helpful things that I remembered are -
Be Aware of Allow and Accept so called 'negative emotions'.
It is not helpful to try to push away 'negative emotions' or to pretend they are not there. This causes us to shut down and be unavailable and unkind to ourselves and others. I do this when I go into 'shut down' mode (or as my kids often remind me- I have that 'look' that is unkind and its accompanying unsettling voice) and get myself really busy and distracted. I shove those dishes into the dishwasher, push that vacuum around forcefully or cook nosily, in order to avoid the uncomfortable feeling. As I am 'huffing and puffing' around the house I am unhelpfully saying to myself, and sometimes to others too "It doesn't matter; there is nothing wrong; I am ok; you just go and do what you want; don't worry about me."
How does this 'shut down' help anyone? It doesn't! Others have no idea what has happened or how to help. It is much more helpful to be Aware of Allow and Accept so called 'negative emotions' and to remain open. We can then get on to do what needs to be done from that wise spot. How do we do this? I find remembering to do 'ABCD' (outlined below) helpful.
I was also reminded this week it is unhelpful to try to negate others' emotions too. I can do this with comments like "it has obviously come up for a reason'; I think you should do learn to deal with it by............advice. Most times all that is needed is an acknowledgment of the feeling without a need to 'fix it' both for ourselves and others. I have been kindly reminded a few times that my 'advice' was not asked for. Maybe you feel this way about these blogs. Please feel free to take what you may find useful and try it or not.
Be aware not to overindulge the so called 'negative emotions' by expressing them in unhelpful ways
While it is important to allow the feeling, (and this may also include a good cry or to seek the help of someone), it is unhelpful to let them prevent us from doing what needs to be done. What needs to be done does not include overindulging the feelings, and/or expressing them inappropriately to others or ourselves. I express unhelpfully when I wallow in sadness, as I did last week with untrue unkind thoughts like "It's my fault - if I had not over mothered, under mothered, cared more or less, then he would not be wanting to leave home." These untrue thoughts are 'all about me' and make me unhappy.
Equally unhelpfully at times I think I need to give all sorts of advice about what he should and should not do, when it is not asked for. It may have been appropriate and necessary when he was younger, but he a 23 year old! It is much more helpful if instead I remember I have done my best as a mother to bring him with a firm foundation and that he has all at the resources he needs to go and be free to learn, make all the 'so called mistakes' and have the experiences he needs to in order to learn life's lessons. A friend reminded me today the two most important things we can give our kids are firm roots to ground them and wings to fly. I am here if he wants advice or needs me, without expectation. It is liberating to do my best with whatever situation arises and then let go of expectation of control, or having the outcome be the way I want.
So instead of 'push away' or 'shut down' or overindulging in negativity with inappropriate expression we can learn to stay open.
Things that have helped me do this, when I remember or am kindly reminded are
A. Aware; Allow; Accept
Doing what needs to be done from that wise spot
So once I allowed myself to feel sad, breathed and didn't believe those negative untrue thoughts I was free to act in more helpful ways. So what came up for me to do was
1. To write a letter to my son
I love to write letters, I don't always give or send them but this time I did. In the letter I.......
Some Thanks You's to end
As I said gratitude is and instant fix for feeling sad. So it is great to have the opportunity to say thank you to all those who have helped me so much. So THANK YOU