Last week, for no real reason at all, I started to get really down on myself. I was so focused on what I didn’t have, what was going wrong, and all the things I wasn’t doing. Self-doubt didn’t just creep in, it came raining down on me like a punch to the throat. I texted a friend, my accountability partner, and whined for a while. He reminded me, in his not-so-gentle way, that there are people who are happy with a lot less than I have. It helped, but it didn’t stop me from wallowing.
Friday night came. It was a long week at work, the weather had been cold and snowy,and my to-do list was longer than my free time. I was meeting a colleague at Starbucks for a marketing meeting. I kept one eye on my watch, knowing that I had to run home in time for my weekly radio show. At the end of the meeting, I walked my colleague to the train. The streets were icy and slippery. I shuffled my way back towards work to get my car and go home. As I shuffled, slipped, and slid my way along, I bitched under my breath about the cold and the snow. I moaned about all the things I had to do; the bills I had to pay. In general, I whined about my life, and then, I stopped.
Laying on a steam grate was a homeless man covered in dirty blankets and a thick piece of plastic. It was maybe all of six degrees by this time of night and the wind was howling. In that moment I cursed myself and thought, “Who the hell are you to whine about anything in your life?” I was so ashamed of myself for being so selfish and ungrateful, and for being so unappreciative of the blessings in my life.
I was half a block from work, but instead of going back for my car, I turned the corner and shuffled the additional two blocks back to Starbucks. I bought a large hot chocolate and a bagel and shuffled my way back to the man. I gave him a nudge and when he unwrapped himself from his coverings, I handed him the items. “Take care of yourself,” I said.
If I could have cried, I would have, but it was so cold that I don’t think it was physically possible. In that moment I was so absolutely grateful for all the things in my life and I couldn’t wait to get home to my cozy, warm apartment, and to my loving three-legged rescue cat. I couldn’t wait to call into the radio show and use my knowledge and enthusiasm to inspire others. I was grateful for my family, my friends, my job, my home, the clothes on my back, my health, my abilities, my opportunities.
I was grateful for every ache and pain, because feeling them meant that I was alive! I was grateful for every interruption at work, because it meant that I had a job! I was grateful for every dollar I spent on my bills, because it meant that I had a home and a car and utilities to pay for!
What are you grateful for? Right here, right now, in this very moment…what are you grateful for?
I am not much for writing in a journal, but every night before I go to bed, I write down at least one thing that I am grateful for. And trust me, there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. It’s an exercise that forces me to be mindful of what I have, and more importantly, THANKFUL for what I have.
Be thankful for what you have in your life. Focus your energy on enjoying what you currently have instead of obsessing about what you still want. Don’t take anything for granted; and be reminded, as I was this week, that someone out there is happy with much less than what you have.
Until next time, veg in, don’t veg out!
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