Gratitude is a magnet for miracles…..Unknown
Have you ever had the same message slap you in the face so many times, it becomes impossible to ignore it? I have lately. Everywhere I look, the words Gratitude and Grateful are jumping out at me. I don’t think I can ignore them any longer. I know what they want and I know they are right. They want me to start counting my blessings and being grateful for what I have in this world.
Lately, I’ve been struggling with some pretty heavy stuff that is going on in my life. It’s to do with one of the most basic of human needs, housing. It has dragged me down like nothing has done in ages. I am living next door to someone who is displaying the same unhinged behaviour my ex husband did and I have to say, it’s freaking me out. I am back in an ongoing episode of PTSD which is never pretty and really does take a physical as well as emotional toll on me.
I know I have reasons to feel like I do but today I was reminded of something that was one of the biggest wake up calls I have ever had in my life and I knew I had to implement the same habits back in to my life if I want to be happy and to live my best life. And isn’t that what we all want, when push comes to shove?
Years ago, after my daughter was killed on an access visit, people would often approach me as I walked my sons to school. The boys were 6 & 8 at the time and were grieving their sister as well as trying to come to terms with seeing their mum not coping with life. So many people at that time, with all the best of intentions, would comment on how hard life was going to be without my beautiful girl. Aimee and I were exceptionally close and people saw that, so they wanted to acknowledge my pain. I know that was their intention but I used to be so worried that the boys would interpret that as meaning that her life was more important than theirs.
I developed a stock answer. “Yes, my heart is broken but I am so lucky that my boys survived. I could have lost all 3 of my children and I could never have survived that. My sons are the reason I am here”. I have to be honest (and I have discussed this with my sons and they understand my feelings on this) I didn’t feel lucky. Yes, I did thank God that my sons survived but I felt like the unluckiest person on earth. A third of my heart and soul had been ripped away from me. I didn’t want to get up everyday. I wanted to curl up in a ball and die along with my darling girl. But I couldn’t. My sons lived and I had to be there for the ones I still had. I didn’t like it.. I didn’t want to stay but what choice did I have?
I said it so often, it sounded like a well rehearsed script. In fact, that’s exactly what it was. I perfected it so the boys could hear the positivity about their lives mattering. The words came out but I wasn’t feeling them. Thankfully, the boys were short enough not to see the pain in my eyes when I mouthed the words. They only heard the words.
But guess what happened with time? I started to believe those words. I said them so much they actually became a mantra without me realising what was happening. They became part of my psyche. They became my truth. One day, about a year down the track, I realised that I meant what I was (still) having to say. I really did feel lucky. My boys were alive and well. They were still full of life and they loved me just as much as their sister did. And I loved them just as much as I loved her.
A few years later, I remembered to talk about my mother’s death in terms of the privilege I felt at holding her in my arms as she crossed over to a more beautiful place. I tried very hard not to focus on the fact that my rock and best friend had gone, but to concentrate on the fact that she had been and I was so lucky to have been her daughter and to be the one to hold her while she breathed her last.
I thought about these two huge life events today as yet another Gratitude example jumped out at me. I thought about what I’m going through now and realised that in comparison, today is a breeze. If I can live through losing the two most important females in my life, I can live through this. And the way to live through it is to adopt the same attitude I adopted back then. An Attitude of Gratitude.
I truly believe that when we look for blessings, we’ll find them. I honestly believe that we can change our lives by changing our minds. You might not believe what you are saying to start with but eventually you will. What’s that they say about faking it until you’re making it? It’s all true. Tell yourself something often enough and you will believe it. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you are ugly and that’s all you’ll see. Look into the same mirror and pick out your good features and soon, you’ll see them first.
We can all find something to be grateful for. Always.. Always.. Always. I say that with humility. If you’re going through a tough time, I don’t want you to deny your pain. It’s real and what you’re going through is tough. BUT… do you have a friend who is supportive? Did someone tell you today that you matter? Did a stranger show you a smile today when you couldn’t find one of your own? It may only be small, but there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for.
May is a hard month for me. It starts on my daughter’s birthday (May 1st of course), in the middle is Mother’s Day (and I still miss my mum with every breath I take) and then the month concludes with the anniversary of Aimee’s death on the 27th May. I often tell myself how bad May is going to be but for the rest of this month, I’m going to find 3 things everyday to be grateful for and will share it on my facebook page. Feel free to share your blessings and to share the status. Let’s see if we can start a chain reaction to happiness that changes the world.
Happy counting… Livvy xxx