On Being Thankful


Some days I’m thankful. Other days I am all too aware of my problems and shortcomings.

There are all the “I wish” thoughts that flood into my head. I wish we didn’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. I wish my son didn’t have life-threatening food allergies. I wish anxiety wasn’t a part of my life. I wish I could still work from home. 

We all have those “I wish” thoughts and moments in our lives. There is always something that could be changed and made “better.” But where does dwelling on “I wish” get us? Not anywhere good, I can promise you that.

Constantly wishing things were different only leaves us in a state of despair. We become jealous and resentful of those around us who seem to have everything going for them. We despise our situation and end up in a bad mood half the time because we are focusing on what’s wrong instead of the blessings in our lives.

But think of how different our lives would be if we focused on being thankful every day instead of focusing on our problems. I’m not just talking about during the month of November to celebrate Thanksgiving. I’m talking about every single day.

Life can feel overwhelming at times. OK, let’s be realistic, life can feel overwhelming a LOT. There are bills we’re not sure how we’re going to pay. The kids get sick or are constantly fighting. Perhaps your job is very demanding and takes up more of your time than you’d like. Maybe your marriage is on the rocks and you’re trying desperately to stay afloat.

Whatever it is, it adds stress to our lives. And that stress leads to us wishing things were different and feeling sorry for ourselves. This can lead us in a downward spiral pretty quickly.

Sometimes work is a struggle for me. I miss working from home and I’ll sit there and not feel motivated to do much. Or, I’ll stew over the fact that I have to dress up every day for work. I think about all the things at home that I’m not getting done and I don’t feel productive. And then all those negative thoughts put me in a bad mood.

But then there are the days I remember to be positive. I’ll look out the window and see the beautiful fall colors or the birds perched in the trees right outside across from my desk. I’ve even seen butterflies land on the windowsill and I will sit and admire them for a few moments. These scenes remind me that there is so much beauty in the world and so much to appreciate.

When my boys are fighting and at each other’s throats, it can be very stressful and aggravating. Sometimes I have to take a few deep breaths to calm down before I address the situation. And it’s tough. Motherhood is tough. This is no secret.

But what keeps me going in those difficult moments is remembering the loving moments. Like when I walk into the living room and see my boys sitting together on the couch cuddling and reading a book. Or when my nine-year-old was sick and his younger brother decided to bring him orange juice and breakfast in bed to help him feel better.

These are the moments I am grateful for and these are the moments I reach for when I’m feeling ungrateful.

I’ve noticed that when I stop to count my blessings instead of focusing on all that is wrong, I feel so much better. My mood immediately lifts and my focus shifts to a more positive outlook. It changes my entire day from being a bad one to a great one.

I know that life is full of troubles and overwhelming. Believe me, I know. And I’m not saying that it’s easy to be thankful every day. It’s not. Some days it’s a real stretch to try to see the positive things and reach for even one small thing we’re grateful for.

But what I am saying is to try. When you’re having those horrible days and it seems like life is throwing you one curve-ball after another, I want you to try to take a step back, take a deep breath, and think of one thing you’re thankful for. Just one.

It may not be a cure-all, but it sure does make you feel better.

How do you try to be thankful each day?


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