"Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

An attitude of gratitude....

OK, I admit that was a cheesy title for a blog post. It just happens that "attitude" and "gratitude" rhyme. So this time the cheesiness was not my fault. I was forced to use that as a title.


Anyhoooo, I am already off on one of my silly tangents when I meant for this post to be more meaningful and heartfelt. So, please indulge me for a moment as I turn in to thoughtful, introspective Kristen as opposed to my usual gregarious self.

It is impossible to go through the month of November and not think about gratitude. I fully believe we should all give thanks for the blessings in our lives every day (and if we look at ourselves hard enough, even those of us with the hardest of lives can find at least one blessing in there...). It just seems that in November, with Thanksgiving and then the holiday season (whether you celebrate Christmas or something else) upon us, I find myself thinking even more of all the ways I am blessed in my life.

It is so easy for us, me included, to focus on the not-so-good. It is easy for us to dwell on all that we think we don't have. And it is all too easy to pick apart every little thing we see as a flaw in ourselves. Why do we do that? Why spend our days miserable, always wishing things were different, or "better?"

There is a quote I have heard and read many times. I am not sure who it is attributed to but I think it is brilliant. I am probably not getting it exactly right, but this is gist of it:

The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything.
They just make the best of what they have.

So simple. And so TRUE! But why is that so hard for so many of us to grasp? Wouldn't we all live happier, healthier lives if we could just adopt such a simple philosophy? Because, really, what good does worry do us? Or envy? Or a constant bad attitude? Honestly, my friends, it does us no good at all.

I know that all of us will probably always have those times where we look in the mirror and wish we were thinner, or prettier, or had better hair. We will probably have those moments when we wish we had a better job. Or an easier job. Or just wish we didn't have to work at all. We may wish we had more friends, or a closer family. See how that goes? We could spend so many precious moments of our lives wishing it all away, when instead we could adopt an attitude of gratitude and accept and be happy with what we do have. And I know...I KNOW....we are all so much more richly blessed than we think we are!

That is how I want to live...happy. And grateful. And in full realization of all the blessings God has given me. Not just in November but every day of the year. But, in the spirit of it being the month of Thanksgiving, I want to take just a moment, here, to recognize all the ways in which I am blessed in my life:

  • I have an amazing husband who loves me for ME. He loves who I am, just as I am, unconditionally. When so many guys wouldn't even give me a passing glance I got so lucky to have this great guy come in to my life that saw past all the superficial outside stuff and took the time to get to know who I am as a person, who I am on the inside. I am so very blessed that he came in to my life!
  • I have the two most amazing parents a girl could ever ever ask for. We haven't always seen eye to eye. I gave them quite a few headaches and probably heartache growing up. I was definitely not an easy child, or teen, or 20-something. But they always loved me, fiercely protected me, never turned their back on me. And they let me make my mistakes and learn from them. And they celebrated the good I did. We still have our moments like any parents and children will, but I am so blessed that we have all grown to a place where I think of them as not just my parents but as two of my very best friends, and I love them so much!
  • I have a brother who would do anything to protect me and be there for me. We are as opposite as can be, and probably always will be. We rarely ever see eye to eye on...anything. We don't have much in common. But I would give my life for him and I know he would do the same for me. I love my little brother with all my heart!
  • I have the sweetest, smartest, most fun little nephew evaaaa! Seriously, how this family was blessed with such an amazing kid I don't know. But I thank God for that little blessing every day! He is 7 now and at that age where he is trying to assert his independence and he is all about playing sports and playing with his friends, but he will still wrap his arms around my neck, squeeze tight, give me hugs and kisses, and say "I love you Auntie!" Am I blessed?! Yeah, I would say so!!!
  • Is there a love more unconditional than the love of a dog? Nope! And I have been blessed to have some awesome dogs in my life, especially my Bailey. He is a typical Beagle and can be stubborn and for sure has a mind of his own. But I can leave the house for five minutes and when I come back he will jump around and wag his tail so fiercely as if I had been gone a year. He always knows when one of us needs a snuggle. Dogs just enrich our lives in so many ways!
  • I may not have a lot of friends, but I do have a few great ones, and for that I am lucky. And thankful.
  • I will admit that if I didn't have to work I would be more than happy not to. But I do have to, like so many of us. And I am truly blessed to have the job I have. It is not always easy, and I certainly do have moments when I complain, loudly, about it. But I have a boss who has been good to me and trusts me to do a lot. I have some great co-workers that make going to work fun. My office is about 6 minutes from my house. I can wear whatever I want. Seriously. If I want to go to work in yoga pants and a Tshirt I can! My hours are great. I am paid well. And I have stability. To have all of these things in this economy is a true blessing and one I am very thankful for.
  • I have a quaint home that I love. To just be able to have a roof over our heads is blessing enough in these times we live in. We have that, and it happens to be in a fabulous neighborhood where we have amazing neighbors. We have a lot of space. I am able to have quite a large room I can devote solely to all my craft stuff! We are fortunate that when the house needs something we can do it. And we are not struggling to have this home. Huge, huge blessing!!!
This honestly is just a start. There is much in my life to be grateful for! And whenever I feel negativity or the "why me" stuff creeping in, I am going to remember how important it is to have an attitude of gratitude. I hope this is something we can all do, if not everyday of the year, why not at least start with this month? The month to give thanks!

In keeping with the theme of the quote I posted above, I wanted to share one more that I like. It is actually a line from the Sheryl Crow song "Soak Up The Sun"...

... It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got ...

Just a thought for us all to ponder.


Christa said...

I love this post!! I am very thankful that Kevin and I met you, Kevin, Bailey and your whole family! I don't know what we would have done without you guys!!

carma said...

I enjoyed reading every one of the things you are grateful for. You do have an incredibly wonderful family. So close and supportive. And how jealous am I that you can wear yoga pants to your job!

You always have an amazing attitude. I can't imagine that you were a difficult teen!

Fantastic post - some excellent food for thought that we all need to hear especially this time of year.

Leann said...

Kristen, this post is so heartwarming and grounding. Yes, we all have so much to be grateful for - your friendship included.

How many days til the crazy Thanksgving shopping dash?


Tammy said...

Amen, amen, and amen!!!

Of course, you left off your wingnut, reactionary Big Sis, but that's okay! ;o)

Seriously, I am so blessed, too....other than a tad more money for perfume and candles and books and music, there is nothing about my life I'd change. (Quitting work and moving to Arkansas goes without saying!)

I am surrounded by lots of love and awesome folks like yourself...life is sweet!

Gayle from Southern Thresholds said...

Loved your post Kristen and made me think of my dear grandmother that has been gone for many years now...she always said to people that would be complaining about this or that or wanting to go here/there or move to another city,...... "Bloom where you're planted." Her philosphy was quite simple but it worked for her quite well and truthfully, real happiness comes from a state of being thankful and grateful for what you already have in your life. it is truly all about "Attitude"....