Gratitude. We hear that word a lot today! We hear it so much that I think we don’t realize the power in gratitude. I journal most of the time and have for years. Not long ago I found journals that were written when I was in my late 20’s, one in my 30’s and of course I skipped a decade and started writing in my journal after I got sick. I am struck by how my dialogue has changed and for that I am grateful and full of gratitude!
When I married my husband I was a 23 year old kid. I was straight out of college, I had partied my way through those four years, and I was spoiled. I take full responsibility for my spoiledness! I know I was incorrigible some days I am sure, but mostly what I took from reading it again was the negative posts. I spent a lot of time focusing on all of the crap coming our way that I missed a lot of good things! I am totally ashamed of myself for always blaming Mike when things weren’t going my way, or when I didn’t feel loved.
This is the text for the day, “when I didn’t feel loved.”
Not long ago, my oldest daughter asked me when I became comfortable in my own skin. I have thought about this over and over only to come up with the long version answer. I didn’t get “OK” with anything about who I am until I learned that LOVE comes from ME. I can not, by my own will, love myself without God. Mary Peeler says, “the closest you will ever be to Source (God) is when you love yourself.” For years I was broken. I used alcohol, food, more alcohol, cigarettes, all to salve wounds that were a part of me and that I was allowing to define my happiness. I blamed the wrong person, I thought that he should be able to fix what was broken. I ignorantly believed that if you married your “soul mate” that somehow all that was broken would magically repair itself. Oh the misconceptions of youth and ignorance!! I will say, in my defense, that we are not given a handbook or blueprints, or a users guide to ourselves or anyone else, so winging it becomes a bit like jumping out of a plane without a parachute. It took most of my life so far to hone the ability to surrender, to forgive myself, and to work on the internal dialogue that I have in my head 24 hours a day. I have accepted the damaged goods and have declared myself the victor! I have always been the “pleaser”. I would sacrifice my own mental health so that others wouldn’t think less of me, or I didn’t let someone down. I didn’t know how to say “no”. I have tried to incorporate the idea of pleasing myself now days. It’s difficult to change old habits. Taking care of me has helped me become a more loving, peace filled, wife, mother and friend, and my stress level has gone down.
My journals now reflect the love in my heart and the love I wish to see in the world around me. I try to focus on the good energy and vibrations that I can send and in turn receive. Smiling at a stranger most times is returned by a smile. Kindness extended can crush anger. Love can win over hate. It is a fact. Gratitude changes perspective. When I focused on all of the difficulties, anger, resentment, I lived a completely unfulfilled faithless existence where the ability to recognize all of my blessings was shrouded by darkness. For someone who has battled depression most all of my life, this was a horrific place to live. In fact, living a life full of joy was impossible. The continual focus on the negative circumstances robbed each minute of joy that would try sneak through the gaps and no amount of dopamine enhancing medication can change that fact.
It is still not easy to recognize all of my blessings some days. It is a continual battle to consciously choose to see the goodness. The troubles of this world are plentiful and giving them energy defeats the purpose of journaling for the goodness in your heart. Not everyday can be good. That’s life. But every day I can find one thing to be truly grateful for—today—it’s Mike.