You slept like crap and your eyes are burning. And your belly is chronically bloated because something doesn’t agree with you and you’ll never figure that one out.
Your partner is being horrible again and that damn step-kid is….insane. How did you get into this mess of a family? But you’re trapped and that’s even more depressing. You’d sink into a permanent fog, but…
The bills are late because you’re short on money again. Your career is going nowhere and the boss is a prick. And jeez, the dog just crapped in the kitchen, great. Just great. You never wanted that mutt.
Still, you’re the one stuck cleaning up after it because no one else will lift a finger to take care of the family pet.
You’re stewing on all this, which brings up another problem – chronic mind chatter that won’t let up. How are you supposed to get anything done or have a sliver of peace? Just a tiny moment of inner peace, please!
Just when you wonder what else could go wrong in your wretched life, something miraculous happens. It’s as if the heavens part and an Angel of Mercy descends, offering a gift from beyond where someone must really care about you. Miracle #1 illuminates your mind with a stunning thought.
Here’s that life-changing thought:
A hell of A LOT more could go wrong, but it hasn’t. This means that you must not know how fortunate you are. Everything will change before your eyes when you appreciate what you have. You need one simple practice: Gratitude.
Yep, you’re stunned for a moment and then kinda pissed. How dare you suggest that I’m….
Miracle #2 disrupts the self-righteous protest. It comes with the realization that you have no valid comeback. For some reason, you know it’s true. You spend your days complaining, focusing on what goes wrong and what a victim you are. If you cared to notice, you’d see the amazing advantages you take for granted with every breath you take, blessings that millions would sacrifice all to enjoy.
You’re spinning, part of you wanting to embrace this revelation while part of you rises to fight with all its might. Ungrateful? Hell, my life really does suck. I’d double down on that one every time! You’re sounding ridiculous. No, if there is a God, he/she/it is supposed to save me from all this, not tell me how pathetic I am. But you know your argument is bunk.
What I am grateful for right now…
Nothing! Wait, ok….hold on. Uh, no! This is total b.s.
For a minute your mindset mirrors that of the genocidal psychopath, Joseph Stalin:
You try again. I’m alive. Not that my life is some big blessing. Life sucks, ha! How’s that for gratitude? (chuckles) And then it hits you: Your chest feels a teeny bit less tense and the knots in your belly seem like they might have loosened. You might be relaxing a bit. Yet, a wave of fear washes through you.
But why am I afraid? Because you wouldn’t know what to do or how to live without those knots in your belly. You’ve been existing inside a fortress of chronic tension for decades. It’s like you’re psychologically attached to the self-sabotaging pain and emotional discomfort. Gratitude would destroy the psychological home you’ve always lived in.
• I’m alive. It’s preferable:)
• I didn’t sleep well, but I do have a bed to sleep in. Imagine if I didn’t…?
• I have food to eat and a roof over my head.
• I have a best friend that I talk to every day!
• Only ONE bill is late and it will be paid soon enough.
• I live in a safe neighborhood and, look, the sky is beautiful right now.
• I know if I were ever in real trouble, my family would be there for me.
Nothing has changed around you, but something is starting to feel different. Oh, you’re no Angel yet, but you’re a little less convinced that your life is unbearable. No, it’s not nearly as awful as you lamented just a few minutes ago. It’s, whatever….it’s ok to be alive. Maybe you can overcome whichever demons have infiltrated your soul.
And then this gratitude thing kicks into overdrive. What if you were grateful for the demons? Absurd. But….what if? What life lessons have they taught you? What have you learned that you might have never learned otherwise? What would happen if every time you felt an inner demon you said, “Thank you for the struggles. I’ve learned a lot. I am not going to wish you would go away anymore. I welcome you.”
It’s nutty, but what if?