We all have good days and bad days. Today is one of my “bad” days. I’ve been curled in a ball for about 15 hours and I’m finally able to sit up long enough to write this article.
When you’re sick or in pain, it makes you stop and realize how many things in your life that you actually take for granted. Most days, I take a few moments to reflect on how grateful I am for my life and more importantly, the people in it. But I know I can do better. I still get aggravated over things that don’t matter. I get really frustrated when I get lost while driving (even though I have a GPS) and get upset when my shiny black granite kitchen floor is dirty—which is every day because it shows every crumb and dog slobber puddle. I sometimes clean that stupid (yet beautiful) floor 3 times a day. What an incredible waste of mental and physical energy.
How do we program ourselves to let go of the things that don’t matter and embrace and appreciate the things that do?
Anyone who has been diagnosed with a serious illness will tell you how often we take our health for granted. When you feel good, how often do you stop and notice that? On the flip side, when you have a bad cold or are doubled over in bed, all you can think about is how BAD you feel.
Like everything else in life, you have to make a serious effort if you want to change a behavior. Then you have to work extra hard to maintain it. So let’s make a plan to remind ourselves how lucky we are every single day. There are a few ways we can do this:
- Write down your Core List of 5 things you never want to take for granted. Whether it’s having food on your table every night, the health of your family, or the fact that you live in a country where women are treated as equals, it doesn’t matter. It’s your list. Be sure to read it every day.
- Schedule a daily gratitude reminder in your calendar. Take 2-5 minutes to think about what you’re grateful for and end it with your Core List of 5. Every day will bring something or someone new to your list. It’s invigorating and wonderful to recognize new and old reasons to be grateful.
- The next time you get angry at your significant other because he (or she) messed up the house, think about what your life would be like if he was no longer there. Do you fail to see the good things that person does while spending more energy focusing on the bad? If so, you may be taking this person for granted.
Probably most of the people you know do not have to worry about basic food and shelter. You may take for granted that you live in a house or apartment with heat and running water. You may not think twice about whether or not you will have food in your refrigerator to feed your family. But having adequate food and shelter is not as common as you might think. As you sit down for dinner tonight, think about these statistics:
- Over half of the population in the world survives on $2.50 per day.
- According to UNICEF, over 22,000 children die every day due to poverty. These deaths don’t make the newspapers—these children are dying in small, poor villages all over the world.
- Approximately 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water and 2.6 billion people lack basic sanitation.
Perspective changes everything. We are fortunate and lucky—every day. Let’s keep reminding ourselves. It’s not that hard to do.
And while I love a clean floor, I’d rather have dogs that shed and slobber all over it. I can’t live without my dogs, but I can certainly learn to “survive” in a house with a dirty floor.
Slowing down and taking a new perspective sounds kind! I am grateful to you for sharing!
Thanks Tina. We all need to remind each other of this…it’s so important and we often forget what’s really important. I hope all is well in your world..:)
So true! I love your suggestions to journal the things you are grateful for. I always find putting pen to paper has a much bigger impact.
Hope you are feeling better! So grateful to have such wonderful women and friends in my life!
Wonderful message…it does make a difference when you take the time to write it down. Thanks so much for your comment Melinda. See you at the workshop next Friday!
Great article Molly! It is so important to take every day for gratitude. Most every day I do and have for years. Every day I spend a few minutes doing this, turns out to be a better day.
I hope you are feeling better.
What a great habit…one we should all do. Thanks Karen. So good to hear from you…stay happy and well! 🙂
yes i have “had” to look on the “bright side” for many years due to physical ailments which first crept into my life at age 9. it IS true, what doesn’t kill you DOES make you stronger! and i still attain to a cleaner house, more accomplished children, a stronger legacy.they are results that are tangible! and though i have no sensation in my fingers, i still reach!
What an inspirational message…that you have no sensation in your fingers yet you still reach. Thank you for sharing this with us and keep looking on the bright side! Stay well…and thanks again for your comment…
What an inspirational message…that you have no sensation in your fingers yet you still reach. Thank you for sharing this with us and keep looking on the bright side! Stay well…
This is beautiful Molly. It’s very timely and relevant to me right now. I’m going to make an effort to appreciate all that I have and stop focusing on the little things, that in the end don’t really matter.
Thanks Karyn. We ALL need to remind ourselves–constantly. You can’t do it once or twice a year. I am happy this article came to you at a time when you needed it. Thank you…:)
Thanks for the friendly reminder Molly – we’re all guilty of forgetting to be grateful all too often. I will strive to do better in the future!
My thoughts and prayers are with you….
Thanks Michelle. It’s just a matter of making it a habit–like flossing your teeth or exercising. You have to put effort into it because it doesn’t come naturally for most of us. I appreciate you taking the time to make a comment and thanks for the continued support. Stay well and happy… 🙂
Sorry to hear you were so sick Molly. Hope you are fully recovered and looking forward to having friends walking on your beautiful floor. I have a wine glass with “gratitude” etched on it and so every time I take a sip it reminds me to be grateful for something. Today I am grateful for such love sent to me over my birthday from my family and friends from all around the world. Love you and can’t wait to see you ON YOUR BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!111
Sorry to hear you were so sick. I love my wine glass which has “gratitude” etched on it. Makes me grateful every time I take a sip of wine.
Before my cancer surgery last year, I underwent a body scan to see if my cancer had metastasized and was forced to wait several weeks for the test results. During those agonizing weeks, I faced my mortality. I realized at that time how much I wanted to keep living and how important it was not to take ANYTHING for granted. I discovered how much I treasured my family and friends and my totally average lifestyle. Now that I am cancer-free, I live each day to the fullest. I love life, and I embrace every day with open arms. I now realize how many things in the past that used to bother me are so unimportant now. As long as my family and friends are healthy and happy or striving to be so, then I am happy.
Molly, I hope you are feeling completely well now and ready to embrace your next adventure! Thanks for writing such inspirational messages! I enjoy and look forward to reading each and every one of them!
P.S. The doggies are adorable!
Hi Rhonda: Thanks for sharing your story…what courage and inspiration you’ve shown the world. I’m so happy you’re doing well and embracing your wonderful life.
Thanks for keeping up each week…and for your wonderful comments….Best to you…Molly