Brene Brown researched joy and discovered that you can not feel joy without feeling gratitude. And it’s easy to feel grateful when things are good, when we get the raise, land the deal, and great things go our way. But can you feel gratitude when you’re in the trenches? When shit’s hitting the fan? Can you feel grateful when things aren’t going your way, when you feel like you’re drowning, when you’re going through a loss, an expired relationship? Can you feel grateful when your heart’s shattered, when you’re feeling discouraged and hopelessness? Can you feel grateful for the things you already have? I’ll tell you, it’s fucking though because we live in a world where we’ve been programmed to compare and want more. I struggle with it. Most of my thoughts are future orientated. And those thoughts are lined with worry and fear and self doubt. Because we are all desperately running toward our version of happy. This blinds us from seeing or appreciating what’s in front of us. So feeling gratitude is an ability and you’re going to need it in order to feel joy.
The way you gain this ability is to practice it. Daily.
I can list all the things you should be grateful for and try to be all creative and shit, like the birth of an idea. Calm. All the dark roads you didn’t go down. But it’s not going to stick and you’ve heard it all before.
So I’m going to suggest ONE thing you can feel grateful for today, right now. Maybe something you haven’t thought about in a long time. Or ever.
How far you’ve come.
Instead of obsessing about where you want to go, think for a second or three about how far you’ve come. Think about all the hurdles, hardship, “failures”, all the shit you had to eat, the thousands of hours you’ve invested in your craft, your body, your relationships, all the days you felt worthless but continued to push through. Think about all the shit you had to put up with, the sacrifices you had to make, all the people you have forgiven, had to draw boundaries with, the relationships you’ve left because you knew you had to. Think about all the work you put into your career, all the times you stared into a mirror and talked yourself into continuing. The rocky relationship you’ve overcome with your parents, your friends, and yourself.
When I look back at my story, I see a reactive boy who got married too soon, got his heart shattered, had to start over with a new career and mindset. I see my rebirth and the thousands of hours doing sessions and running groups and blogging. Working in non profit and feeling like an underpaid camp counselor. I see thousands of hours of me working out in the gym. Learning to eat better. Making better friends. I see me grinding, feeling very alone, trying to create a dialogue that may help others. Making videos and feeling stupid afterwards. I see all the tough decisions and sacrifices I’ve have made. All the conversations and positive self talk with myself. Leaning into discomfort, showing myself, practicing transparency. Trying to unlearn things and throwing away blueprints I’ve been clenching so tightly in my hand. I see a drifter trying to find his way. I see an artist trying to pay the bills. I see the long painful road I’ve endured to go from boy to man.
And I take a deep breath and know that I’ve come a long fucking way. And if I don’t get everything I want in life, I’ve earned where I’m at right now, today, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. My grind let to a better version of me. My story and hardship has allowed me to become a different person. And I’ve earned that. And I can feel grateful for that right now as I sip overpriced coffee at this hipster coffee joint and write this on my phone.
Take a moment and really think about your story and how far you’ve come, because NO ONE can take that away from you.
You’ve earned that shit, one day at a time.
It’s something you can always feel grateful for.
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