In this book that I read recently, it said that successful people have an “attitude of gratitude.” Basically, they are taking time each day to think about what they are grateful for. I do this lots of times. I know of some people who keep “gratitude journals” in which they write down the things they are grateful for each night. Or some people have listed a number of things they are grateful for in their Facebook status postings.
I got an interesting spin on this technique today.
Earlier in the day, a couple of things reminded me of a hard time I had to go through in my past. These reminders brought on memories of those things and I got really upset thinking about them for a while. I got upset remembering those hard times and what it put my daughter through when she was younger.
At this time in our lives, we had very little money for food and my daughter was hungry a lot. I had to pay for EVERYTHING and there was very little money left over for food. We did get help sometimes with $20 here or there, but it was not enough to keep food in our house. I worked two jobs to bring in money for food, as well as Christmas gifts for my daughter. I also got food stamps – a meager $10 a month. At this time, there was no “support system” to help us with this transition in our lives and I had to learn everything on my own. At this time, it was scary because we were alone and had no family around to help us. We were alone! We had friends who helped here and there, but they were not around as much as we needed them to be. At this time in our lives, we hardly had anything in the house we lived in, and for a while, I didn’t even have a car to drive. I had to ride the bus or walk.
It was just bad. Really bad. And, oh, yeah. That was also the time a SICKO was in our lives! I am glad that person ain't around anymore!!! (And this is why I will never again give in to family pressure and do what other people want me to do. So, yeah, I guess something good came out of that: A lesson learned!)
I don’t like remembering that part of our past and those reminders brought it back. You know, those were lean times. We really struggled.
But then I stopped myself. I took a look around and reminded myself, That’s all in the past. We’re not living like that anymore. Just as I stop myself from dwelling on memories of people who have hurt me in the past with the thought “those people aren’t in my life anymore,” I stopped myself from dwelling on those memories with a reminder, “We don’t live that life anymore.”
These days, we have money for food. I have a car to drive which I don’t have to pay the insurance for. We can buy new clothes and new furniture. You know, we’re just better off now. And happier.
Remembering this filled me with a new sense of gratitude. I just looked up at the sky and thought, Thank you, Lord, for helping us.
I thank God every day for being there for us and helping us. But using this reminder that things are better than a past bad thing just made me feel so immensely grateful for this change all over again. I am so grateful my daughter doesn’t have to be hungry again. I am so grateful we live in a warm house with lots of nice things. I am so grateful we have someone who looks out for us and takes care of us. Someone who cares about us enough to make sure that we are happy.
I am grateful life is better now. It was really worth hanging in there for it to happen.
It would seem the stream of gratitude did not end with me posting this on my blog and sharing it on Facebook. This morning, after I awoke, I was thinking about it, and once again felt so very grateful for the life we have now. It just takes these episodes to make us stop and appreciate what we have in life. I sent up another prayer of thanks. I am just so happy that part of our past came to an end.
And this morning, I read this message in Dallas Franklin's newsletter:
"What experiences are you bringing up? Are you still stuck in the negative ones that you still haven’t figured out or understood what the lesson was to learn? Let them go. Really, just let them go. You haven’t figured it out so there’s no need to go over it anymore. Allow life to grab hold and take you to brighter experiences.
Once you’re knee-deep into gratifying experiences you’ll find that you suddenly understand past experiences a little better. The more enjoyment you get out of life, the more wisdom you’ll be downloaded. Funny how life works like that, eh?"
So aside from waking up this morning and feeling a renewed sense of gratitude, I had a new sense of understanding about that past experience. Yes, it was bad, but some good came out of it. It taught me some very important life lessons.
It taught me to be self-sufficient.
It strengthened my faith.
It brought my daughter and I closer. She may have mentally blocked this part of her past, but the bond created from it remains.
It taught me to be a wiser parent.
It taught me to be strong.
It taught me the importance of having a savings to rely on in just such situations.
It taught me that if we ever end up in a situation like that again, we'll be okay, because now I know what to do and NOT do to survive it.
So now I am grateful for these lessons, too.