Thank you for the good stuff – the baggage can stay where it is

My morning was rough. Not terrible, just rough. Just wearing. Just emotional. My afternoon and evening were long.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“Yes, but…” But I wish things were different. But I haven’t had time to process my morning. But I had a long day and I feel sad now.

I was carrying stuff. Some stuff was mine. Some stuff belonged to other people. I had to put down their stuff. That’s someone else’s to carry. Someone else’s judgement isn’t mine. So I’m going to stop carrying it. Someone else’s disapproval doesn’t belong to me. Let it ruin their mood, not mine. I’m over here, minding my own business, carrying my own stuff. If I am carrying around someone else’s approval or disapproval of me, do I have space to give myself approval first? Not really.

I’ve been reading Never Broken by Jewel. If you knew me in high school, you knew I loved her songwriting. Years later, I also love her memoir writing. In the chapter I read right before going to bed, she talked about feeling gratitude. She carved out time each day during her troubled childhood/teen years and felt gratitude. Even in adversity, she found something to say thank you for.

What was going on for me was miniscule compared to people with significant problems. I knew that. But that didn’t make my feelings less real. I turned out the light and began to list things I was grateful for that day. Support of family. Running into a good friend. Meeting new people. The first signs of spring. I kept listing until I fell asleep.

What happened next surprised me.

I woke up in a decent mood. I didn’t notice until I was pulling my car out of the garage to head to work. My motivation was higher and my mood was lighter. By the time I got to work, I was inspired to thank someone who was nice to me the day before. Then I thanked a coworker who was nice enough to organize a party for someone. Saying thank you to the universe inspired me to say thank you to specific people. My appreciation spread.

I looked at the stuff that I had carried the day before. It didn’t even look familiar. Why was I carrying that again? It doesn’t belong here.

I have been trying to show more gratitude in my life. Some days are easier than others. Remembering to feel the gratitude is difficult sometimes.

All I know right now is I saw a positive change in myself through being more conscious about what is good in my life and what is mine to carry. Some days revelations come after lots of practice, some days they come after an experiment. What better motivation to keep such a practice going than observable change?

Now I’m trying to examine my gratitude more regularly. I am also trying to vocalize it with greater frequency.

If you’re still reading, thank you for being here.

Who can you thank today? Whose life can you improve?

It might be your own.

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