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.
I spent the last two mother’s days being sad and kind of angry over the loss of my mother (who is still alive for those of you just joining in). Last year, I likened Mother’s Day for me to being single on Valentine’s Day. It’s so easy to feel sorry for yourself, isn’t it?
But, in an upcoming KayShay Code post, Rule #5 — spoiler alert – is on finding gratitude. I could write a book about that here, but I’ll save it for the manifesto. Instead, I will put my rule into practice by finding every way possible to love and be thankful for mothers everywhere. Because mother’s day is most certainly not solely about me and my mother, it’s about many other things that I can be grateful for and gain perspective by considering.
Happy Mother’s day to me (and G)! I am a mommy – to my dog Levi. And right now, since she is visiting for the weekend, I am being a mommy to my god-dog Lola as well. Indeed, being a dog mom is much easier than being the mom of a mini person – the complexities are far fewer. A walk per day, a fight to brush teeth a few times a week, a bath/haircut once a month, and a lot of couch cuddling is all I need to keep Levi happy and healthy. He is crate trained, so if I leave for work for the whole day he happily lounges without the need for babysitting. He loves me unconditionally, is always enthusiastic to see me, and never talks back. He never talks at all, actually, unless someone rings the doorbell. My introverted self likes the quiet.
Happy Mother’s day to all of my dear friends who are moms. You have the hardest job on the planet –birthing (or adopting!), nurturing, teaching, challenging, and shaping our future population. I can’t even wrap my head around such a thing, but I thank you for your service, your sacrifices, and wish you the best of luck.
Happy Mother’s day to all of the women in my life who care for me like a mother. I have been so fortunate to meet so many strong successful women who, honestly, help fill the void my own mother has left in my life. I have work moms, gym moms, friend’s moms, and a fantastic mother-in-law who all treat me like their own, offer to bring me soup when I’m sick, hug me when I’m feeling down, and give me great advice. I must have started throwing off some kind of sad-orphaned-girl scent a few years ago because the resurgence of mother figures in my life totally skyrocketed. I have never felt so loved in my life. Ever.
In light of these facts– that I am a mom, that I know so many amazing moms, and that I have so many wonderful moms… there is no room for sadness or anger over what was or should be. I can only see what is and could be, and I am filled with gratitude, love, and joy.