They say if you feel that something is frustrating, irritating or maddening, look around you and find something to be grateful for.
(As if it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. Duh!)
Let me confess: I’m the type of person that, if there is something that doesn’t feel right, I don’t feel right. If there’s something frustrating or irritating that pops my way, guess what, I get frustrated and irritated. My brain was not trained to do otherwise. I go with the flow. As if I’m some kind of a machine that, given a certain situation, I will do as anticipated.
Which makes me more fitting to the famous Filipino saying, “Tao lang.” ~ Minsan hindi lang nag-iisip!
For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking of writing about the subject of “gratefulness.” I’ve been holding off because I thought I need to do more research, I needed to understand and read more about the subject matter, but then today I woke up I told myself I’m slacking off and starting to fall into the old habit of procrastination.
Then, I stumbled on this quote on Facebook.
I quickly decided to start now and just write everything I’ve learned and reflected on as I go. Here’s my first installment.
I learned that happy people are grateful people.
Research shows that gratitude is a powerful force for creating positive changes in individuals, families, and organizations. I read that, grateful people are more energetic, emotionally intelligent, forgiving, and less likely to be depressed, anxious, or lonely.
Looking at myself, I discovered I’m NOT a grateful person. I seldom say thanks to anyone (really).
I re-examined my childhood and thought to myself, maybe because I seldom got anything when growing up, I didn’t exercise the art of saying thanks. Or I just didn’t notice the generous gifts I were receiving since my parents didn’t impose a thank-you habit on me and my siblings.
But why does it feel I’m the only child in the family that expresses less gratitude to people? I hear my sisters express a sincere thank-you even for a little act of kindness bestowed to them from a stranger.
Maybe, just maybe… it’s not how we were brought up; maybe I’m just the sour and bitter sister in the family that doesn’t know how to say thank you.
When you are a parent, all you want to teach your children is to have good manners. One of those manners is being GRATEFUL. To politely say thank you to whatever type of kindness shown to them. To sincerely mean it and acknowledge the kindness wholeheartedly. I realized if I’m not that kind of parent, there’s little chance of my child becoming a thankful human being growing up.
I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
And ladies and gentlemen, you know clearly where I always turn to when I have problems I need to solve…
The name Shawn Achor came up. He has a TED Talk! I watched it over and over again, giggling over the unicorn story, but more than that, about the idea of writing 3 things you are grateful for for 21 days before going to sleep.
So I tried doing just that. On the first week I had the most difficult time writing my second and third grateful thoughts. Then on my second week, I improved – I only left the third blank. I thought to myself, I’m getting somewhere here… When I got near my 21 days I could complete my 3 thank-you notes before I went to sleep.
I discovered that the reason I was struggling in the past writing my thank-you notes were because I was looking for the big things before I said thank you, I was waiting for something out of the ordinary before I said thank you. When I started writing thanks to even the simplest things that transpired the whole day like the cool breeze I woke up to and the sweet-smelling blankets I would sleep under, even for the elevator man who waited for the door patiently, everything seemed to change. A huge part of me became a little less heavy…
I slowly stopped over reacting when something didn’t turn out right.
I never stopped after the 21 days. Up until now, since October of 2013, I’m still writing my thank-you notes.
You know why?
Because something inside me is changing and I like it.
I think and I feel I’m becoming a better me. In the past when I woke up, I will think of how I will survive my day. Now I woke up thinking what good things will happen today that I could feel grateful for and write on my thank-you journal.
Next to Steven Covey, I grew to love Shawn Achor. My first Kindle purchase was his book Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change. I also bought my children his book Riffle’s Effects.
If you have time go pick up his book. You will like Shawn Achor too. 🙂
Thank you for reading ladies! I would like to hear your side of this matter. Comment below!