Two words that I find are creeping into my vocabulary more and more regularly, and without any effort at all.
For a good part of the past almost-six years, I didn't feel grateful or blessed - I felt bitter. Bitter about all of the things I didn't have; the things I thought deserved to be rightfully mine but were stolen from me. Not material things like more money or a nicer car, but things like a healthy living baby, a healthy twin pregnancy, full term twins, life without disability, life without cancer. Things that other people around me had, and seemed to take for granted. Could I blame them? No. I took things like that for granted before too.
But then I eventually grew tired of being bitter and made a conscious effort to be grateful. What good was it doing me to be angry? None, whatsoever. So I decided to change that. I always knew how much I had in the grand scheme of things, it was just often over shadowed by what I didn't have. So I began "gratefulness therapy" (Should I trademark that phrase? I just came up with it and it's pretty brilliant.)
At first it wasn't exactly easy. Sure, I could say to myself "I have three healthy kids, a loving husband, a roof over my head and food to eat". That was easy. I knew that all along. But I wanted more than that. So I spent a little bit of time at the end of each day thinking about what happened that I could be thankful for. Often it was really mundane things that I'd otherwise overlook.
As time wore on, it became part of my routine. Not only did all of my blessings seem to show themselves to me more readily, but if something bad would happen, I would think to myself "Well at least [insert a silver lining] happened". Et voilà, before I realized it, thankfulness began to come naturally.
And I won't lie, it's a work in progress and I'm not always grateful. Some days really sucky things happen and I can't find a positive to save my life. But other days really sucky things happen and I do. For example, leaking roof? Yup, that sucks. But...at least we've got a roof. At least it leaked before the house was done. At least we've got a good roofer. At least nothing else went wrong. And on and on. I have learned to be grateful, even when something sucks. Because things are always going to suck so you've always got to find the blessings. And wow did you see how much I just said "sucks" in a post about thankfulness? I'm illustrating a point. You can think things "suck" all the time - or you can think you have a lot to be grateful for, sometimes in spite of the suck. It's really your choice.
So there you have it. I am grateful and I am blessed. Not just on Thanksgiving, but every day. And if I can do it, so can you. So if you're having trouble finding those blessings and things to be grateful for, do yourself a favor and take on a little bit of Gratefulness Therapy™ (See that? Trademarked. It's official). It works.
Happy Thanksgiving friends. Feel your blessings.
How can I not feel blessed by these people? One of my faves (from October 2010).