I don’t mean to be ungrateful…
Nearly every day I state aloud the myriad of things for which I am grateful. There are things I will state that always make the list; my spouse, my job, my home, my friends and family. I do my best to keep from merely performing an auditory roll call of gratitude, checking off each box to indicate the ones I remembered to state. Sometimes it does feel like I’m going through a checklist, so when it does I will not only state what I am grateful for, but why. I will state the reason I am grateful for whatever or whomever it is, what joy or benefit it brings to my life.
Sometimes there are things that seem to slip on and off the list. I’m not sure why… is it because I take these things for granted? The implied answer is yes, illustrated by the simple function of this ritual, which is to remind myself of the blessings I have in my life. To not send a thank you note to any of the benefits and blessings in my life makes them feel overlooked, their presence unappreciated. Am I risking that they will not show up to the party of my life in the future?
It is very common for me to run down the gratitude list in the morning while getting ready for work, or in the car on my way to work. It’s as if giving thanks for my blessings is on another lists of sorts, that as long as I go over the inventory of positives in my life, I can dance through the rest of the day knowing that’s been taken care of. Yet isn’t there more value in appreciating it while it is standing in front of me, while it’s in my hands, while it is in my immediate presence?
This is the portion of the program I tend to participate in the most, the part my lovely spouse (who incidentally makes the list the most often, during roll call and throughout the day) warns me is where I am overthinking. I have a propensity for doing that. I ought to be grateful for my gratitude. I should be thankful for my thankfulness. This seemingly silly exercise in reflective redundancy has led me to the frequent area of oversight in my appreciations:
It occurred to me on the way to work today. In my gratitudes I have included my health, my heart, my mind, my spirit, but this morning I thanked myself. I actually put it into words to say thank you to myself. I went through my experiences, realizations, personalities, lessons, mistakes, actions taken, thoughts, aspects of myself and thanked myself for each of them. It was very very emotional and highly cathartic.
There’s a strange irony of having to reside in one’s own skin, being the person we wake up with every day and spend every single moment with, without exception (barring conjoined twins, of course). Although we are the constant subject and object of the sentence structure of our lives, we seem to forget to consider ourself in the list when it comes to compassion, good deeds, kindness, loving acts. What ought to be self appreciation becomes indulgence, what seems like giving to ourselves becomes distorted into attempts to fill the void of the love we deny ourselves. There is something to be said about providing to ourselves the kindness and generosity we crave from others in the form of approval. There is a fulfillment in including ourselves in the list of those to whom we provide charity.
Today my heart is full. I received the thank you note from myself, and I taped it to my mirror, so that every time I see it it makes me smile.