Rule #5: Find Gratitude
Confession: I have several of these rules already cued up to write about because they are known sources of struggle/practice/success for me. I am still working to explore my own complete personal manifesto, but this one, Find Gratitude, has been up next to write on for some time and I’ve been too busy and distracted to sit down and write. But today, I came across this quote and it’s got me thinking. And writing.
“Never blame anyone in your life. Good people give you happiness. Bad people give you experience. The worst people give you lessons. And the best people give you memories.”
In summary, everyone gives you something worthwhile. And anytime you receive something worthwhile you should be able to find gratitude for it.
In the moment when the bad and worst people you come across are doing their evil little things… meditating on being thankful is likely not possible. But it certainly can be part of your healing and moving on process. It is definitely part of the letting go process. It is an essential part of the forgiveness process.
Being active in finding gratitude during the challenging moment is a practice that I’ve been working on for years. Decades. I still suck at it. But, I know that while I can never hope to control the actions of others, I can absolutely control my reaction to them. This is, perhaps, a rule all on its own, but in the context of finding gratitude, centering your thoughts on the positives of the situation, or what could be positive about it in the future, will help you come to your gratitude faster.
I have found for myself that the biggest barrier to gratitude is perspective. And after what I’ve been through with my family, perspective is something that I’ve had to develop to hold it together. I would like to be a victim of my parents’ actions, the girl who wasn’t good enough to deserve their love and support. I would like to blame them for sabotaging their relationship with my brother and I and denying us a chance to experience the joy of a close-knit family as adults with our own children (or dogs, as it is), and extended families. I would really like to hate them for judging others and not supporting the equality of all people.
But instead, I will be thankful that I am loved by the family that I married, my brother and the family that he married, and all of the friends and their families who have adopted me. Instead, I will be thankful that I know the difference between conditional and unconditional love and never perpetuate this bad behavior. Instead, I will be thankful that I can peacefully live without their judgment upon me or my family, and that civil rights has once again been elevated in this country in hopes that despite the personal judgments of the closed-minded society, it will be unlawful to discriminate against anyone, of any kind, for any reason.
I’ll leave you with a reflection. A letter that I wrote to my Dad for a piece during #reverb14, a prompt that required us to thank someone in your life that hurt you deeply. I meditate on what I wrote that day often to reassure myself that I meant it.