This is a guest post we pulled from our founder, Valerie Pierce’s, personal blog about being grateful and all she learned through doing the gratitude challenge this month.
“At the beginning of November, I was reflecting back on October and trying to write out what the month looked like. It took a couple minutes to settle my mind and to remember everything that had happened, but as I did, I became a bit overwhelmed with everything that had taken place – from retreats to visiting family to planning the launch party and a work conference, all without a real break (mostly of my own doing). Even more, thinking back on the month, I don’t think I could have told anyone that I realized there was a lot going on while in the midst of it. I felt pretty disconnected from the month as a whole. While present in each of the moments, the second whatever I was working on ended, I pushed it to the back of my mind and moved onto the next event.
I couldn’t tell you how exhausting October was until I had written everything down and took a moment to take it in (thanks to the monthly check-in page for October). Knowing myself, without the check-in page I probably would have plowed right ahead to November running at the same forgetful speed.
While a part of me was unhealthily prideful of all I was able to accomplish in a month and how (at the time), I was still doing well emotionally, mentally, and physically, another part of me was saddened that despite wanting to live an intentional life of abundant joy, and basing my business on this, I wasn’t finding the balance.
I knew there needed to be adjustments if I wanted to take steps towards balance and with Thanksgiving being close, decided daily practicing gratitude would be the simplest and most adaptable adjustment I could make. It was simple and adaptable enough to not need too much extra effort in implementing, but also would be enough of a break in my rhythm that it would require me to pause and really consider balance in my life.
I knew by committing to writing five gratitude points each day, I could easily cop out by writing the easier things of “coffee,” “fuzzy blankets,” and “friends and family.” Which are of course things I am grateful for (especially being in the holidays and cold season), but they wouldn’t necessarily challenge me to stretch my mindset and perspective in an effort to slow down and find balance in my natural pace of life. I needed to be challenged to think beyond the things that easily come to mind if I wanted to learn how to find better balance. Just writing down the things that easily come to mind wouldn’t require me to think deeply and therefore wouldn’t cause me to pause enough to break my fast paced rhythm nor would be things I remembered at the end of the day or week as things I’m grateful for. The easy items wouldn’t help me move towards or learn balance – balance of getting life done and abundant joy.
Because I think one of the important aspects of being grateful is it teaches balance. Gratitude teaches us how to balance the difficult points of life with the joys of life.
As I learn to be grateful and practice gratitude in the hard moments, when life isn’t fun, when expectations aren’t met and disappointment is full in the face; when jealousy threatens to overhaul my heart posture and I’m tempted to act out of passive aggression rather than care and kindness, I learn that being grateful and practicing gratitude is a choice, not a fluffy emotion.
I learn I can choose to be grateful or to not be in any moment or season of life. Choosing to be grateful in the difficult allows me to say both “Okay, this hard stuff has sucked and I don’t care to repeat them” and also “However, these hard parts I believe are going to have some kind of silver lining in the future. And for the other parts that didn’t suck as much, I’m grateful for them.”
Being grateful, choosing to be grateful, helps me find this balance between difficult and positive in life and finding this balance in the bigger moments of living, helps me find balance in the more mundane aspects of life too. Being grateful and choosing gratitude helps me balance between how to find, seek and experience abundant joy amidst life’s busy.
I’m not good at this. I’m poor at balancing the two well, without leaning more one way or the other, but it is something I want to practice and grow in. I know each season of life will give me new challenges and opportunities to practice being grateful and the achiever in me isn’t super thrilled about this being a lifelong lesson, but I know it’ll be good.”
Where have you struggled to be grateful this season?
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