The other day I was re-reading an old mentoring lesson.
I like re-reading old lessons because when I do this, often I find they become new lessons again – just as applicable to my life now as they were when I first received them.
One particular passage from that old lesson has really stuck with me – the teacher was talking about how so many people she teaches receive so much, but yet they still continue to say they need so much.
Her point was – is – we can choose whether to feel weak or strong.
If we choose to constantly talk about how much we need and how little we receive, we remain weak.
If we choose to recognize and appreciate what we have received and how each small gift is so beneficial, we begin to become strong from the inside out.
In other words, gratitude literally gives us strength – it makes us strong.
When we choose to make it a daily discipline to notice what we are given, no matter how small or insignificant the gift may seem at the time, our personal awareness suddenly shifts from our lack to our fullness.
One tiny moment of recognition at a time, we can strengthen our awareness that we are getting our needs met. We can prove to ourselves, one small act of awareness at a time, that we are known, we are seen, we are heard, we are helped, we matter, we are a part of.
In the wake of my own personal 15-year battle with anorexia and bulimia, and later with depression and anxiety, I have become particularly partial to any action or discipline I can adopt that makes me feel stronger.
Here are some things I do that help me work towards this goal:
- I meditate daily.
- I focus on my breathing daily.
- I exercise and stretch my body daily.
- I consume nutritious food daily.
- I get plenty of rest daily.
- I laugh at every opportunity daily.
- I spend my life with people I look up to and admire daily.
- I hang out all day every day with my very favorite being (who just happens to have lots of soft grey and white feathers).
These are just a few of the choices I have made through the years that have helped me feel a growing inner strength.
I also choose to recognize moments of kindness, gifts, offerings, to really see and feel them, even when it takes a lot of courage and patience to do so.
I do this because gratitude is a huge part – perhaps the most significant part – of what supported me to beat my eating disorder once and for all.
For example, when I was recovering, I would keep a journal and write down every tiny little thing I did to choose life (and eating) over death (and not eating). At the end of each day – with no prompting from anyone – I would sit down and read over all the little things I did to fight for my life, and feel a surprising upwelling of gratitude to myself for my courage and strength.
This one practice took me all the way through from being very sick and hopeless to becoming healthy and strong at least.
In the same way, I am now realizing that gratitude can transform not just my health but my whole life.
Today I am finally beginning to realize there is no limit to the power of gratitude to help me become strong in my body, my mind, my heart, and my spirit.
Today’s Takeaway: Can you think of specific moments when feeling grateful has helped you overcome obstacles or achieve important goals? What has gratitude taught you about yourself, your life, and what you want most out of life?