Gratitude and Growth

image of a dock into a lake with the words gratitude and growth
Daily writing prompt
How do you express your gratitude?

Every morning, the first thing I do, often before I even open my eyes, is list out 3-5 things that I am grateful for. Gratitude and growth go hand in hand. I have been doing this for the last year or so. The thing I find the most surprising is that even on my worst days, when the dark clouds are hanging over my head, the things that I am grateful for come easily. I can quickly rattle off a list of things I am grateful for. Honestly, most of the things on my list are actually people. It hasn’t always been this easy for me, though. I spent many years waking up with resentment and irritability towards people and even life in general. I would wake up with complaints and grumblings on my mind and in my heart. The change happened slowly, but I can clearly see the steps it took to get me here.

A Hard Realization

The first step to waking up with gratitude and being able to express it, has been to consciously and intentionally let people see and know me. The real me. Let me give a little back story to this one. I have a long history of lone-wolf mentality. Rigid independence was a way for me to keep myself safe by not letting anyone in or letting myself need anyone. Yes, it kept me safe, but it also kept me very isolated and lonely. I was angry, but underneath it was a lot of grief. I deeply craved connection but it was so scary to depend on anyone. There came a point when isolating out of safety was causing more harm than good. So I made a choice to open and let people in. Easier said than done, but more than worth it. This one is still a daily practice for me, but it is coming much more easily.

Taking Back My Power

Remember back at the beginning when I said I woke up with resentment and irritability towards life in general? Well, the second step to waking up with gratitude was I had to get really sober and honest with myself. Instead of blaming my circumstances on bad luck, other people, or even God, I had to take radical responsibility for who I was and where I was. No more blame game and no more shame spirals. No judgement either, just investigating with curiosity. Tracing behaviors and patterns all the way back to get a better understanding of the how and why.

Well, it turns out, I simultaneously held quite a bit of control over my life and none at all. I say that because before this little quest most of my choices were run by fear and subconscious programs. At the time, I didn’t know any better and I really was like a computer, just going based on programming. That is, until I could see it. Once you see it, it becomes a conscious choice to keep repeating or do something different. Now I am slowly writing my own programs based on conscious choices and love. Coming back around, what does any of this have to do with gratitude?

I was only capable of feeling gratitude for my life and the people in it when I became aware that I played a large role in my circumstances. Gratitude and growth, again, go together. Blaming others was only a way to disconnect from them and go back into isolation. When I saw all the ways I was responsible for my circumstances by taking back my power of choice, I could see other people in a more honest and clear way.

The Big Shift

This led to my entire perspective shifting. All of a sudden people weren’t out to get me, make things difficult, or suck the life out of me. They were simply living their lives and maybe being run by their own programs. Truthfully though, they were wanting connection too. By taking the blame off of other people and putting the responsibility back on myself, I have been able to express my love and gratitude more openly. Instead of needing to be in a reactive and defensive position all the time, I can be proactive and choose how to relate.

Yes, boundaries with people are an important skill to learn. More importantly has been showing up with love and compassion. It is a reinforcing cycle. The more gratitude I have for a person or situation, the more I can show up with love and compassion, then the more gratitude I have. There can be more gratitude with growth. I have noticed dramatic changes in my life, relationships, work, and even in my physical body.

Body Changes

Before I underwent this shift, honestly, I was a mess. My hair was falling out. I was sick to my stomach for months on end compounded by decreased appetite, weight gain, bowel inconsistencies, and nausea. I was 30 and stiff as a board. Rigid in mind and body. Shoulders up to my ears and back like a brick wall. Plagued by frequent headaches, no energy, and episodes of both anxiety and depression. It was not looking good. My physical body was a reflection of my shitty mindset, stuffed emotions, and dying soul.

Truthfully, it’s hard to fully remember that version of me. Everything is much different now. Closing out one of the most difficult years of my life with my boyfriend being gone on a military deployment, and I still wake up every morning with gratitude. All it took was learning to let people in and a balanced sense of responsibility for my life and circumstances. My body, mind, and spirit have become more connected and in alignment as a result.

Love and gratitude flow easily from me these days. I started this work because I knew I couldn’t keep living sick and isolated. I continue this work because my life and the amount of love in it has become something beyond my wildest dreams. Expressing my gratitude has become a natural state of behavior by frequently showing and telling people how much they mean to me, saying thank you often, and giving and receiving openly.

My Offer For You

If any bit of this calls to you or hits a tender spot inside of you, you may be ready to rewrite some programs. I encourage you to hop on a 30 minute call with me. Email with subject FREE CALL and I will send over some days and times we can connect.

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