How I Rediscovered Gratefulness In The New Year
In December, I reflected on what happened throughout the past year in my life and felt disappointed. I compared my modest highlights to the life changing accomplishments I witnessed from my friends and online connections. I saw some get engaged, get married, and bring new life into the world. I saw others earn their second and third degrees, start fabulous new jobs in new cities, and purchase their dream homes. In essence, I saw a constant influx of celebrations and congratulations flowing across my timelines on what felt like a nonstop basis.
On one hand, I've always had tunnel vision. I don't typically allow others' pace dictate my own. I avoid playing the comparison game because deep down inside, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and in God's timing. On the other hand, as I looked back on my 2017, I felt discontent. Despite having done quite a bit of what I'd set out to do at the beginning of that year, I didn't feel I had anything to actually celebrate. I didn't get engaged. I didn't earn a new degree. I didn't move to a new city. I didn't hit any red carpets. I didn't win the lottery. When New Year's Eve rolled around, I didn't feel inspired to get dressed or to go out. After all, it's a night to celebrate the past year's wins, and I didn't feel like I had many.
Then I was reminded of one of the most important values in life — gratitude. I went to church one Sunday, and my pastor asked a startling question, "How can you expect increase when you aren't grateful for what you have?" I immediately felt guilty. I had been walking around under a cloud of self-infused disappointment, and to be frank, privilege, refusing to express thankfulness for all of the good in my life, simply because it wasn't Instagram worthy.
So, I changed my mindset. I pulled out a sheet of paper and made a list of every single thing I was grateful for, and I ended up running out of space. I rediscovered a variety of truths: I'm alive. I'm breathing. I'm healthy. I have a home. I have a car. I have gas in my car. I have friends. I have family. I have love. I have the ability to love. I have clarity. I have peace of mind. I have intelligence. I have creativity. I have knowledge. I have goals and dreams with the means and ambition needed to conquer them. Even if you too looked back on your past year (or several years) and didn't feel a sense of accomplishment, you can also proclaim most, if not all, of these truths in your own life, no matter how unfulfilling you think yours has been.
Over 150,000 people pass away every day, and as of right now, you're not one of them. You're breathing. You have the mental faculties to read and comprehend my words. No matter what physical struggle or pain you may be dealing with, you are beating it. Nothing has defeated you. You have survived 100% of your bad days. No matter how many times you've gotten up in the morning asking yourself, "How am I going to get through today?" or "How am I going to get through this week?" — you've gotten through them all alive.
We get too caught up in watching other's highlight reels while we critique our own behind the scenes outtakes. We assume that because we're not moving like someone else is moving that we aren't moving at all. Every year isn't a year of accomplishment. Some years are meant for putting your head down and doing the work. Some years are meant for working so hard and not seeing even a glimmer of success. Some years are for traveling halfway across the world to find yourself. Some years are for falling in love. And then other years are meant for reaping the rewards of your due diligence and showing the world all the great things you've done. Don't allow comparison to rob you of your gratitude. You're blessed to be where you are right now. No matter if you're in a production season or an awards season, being alive, well, safe, and secure are all good enough reasons to celebrate your life every single day.
Let's talk about it.
What are you grateful for? Have you found yourself straying away from gratefulness? How did you get back on track? Share below in the comments or tweet me your thoughts!