Thanksgiving is one of my absolute favorite holidays. Namely because I get to celebrate it with 3 different meals. One Grandma’s for a traditional southern Thanksgiving lunch with mac and cheese, green beans and the ever popular Costco dinner rolls. Another Grandma’s for a tradition started by my parents for a lunch of crab legs and Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Then my personal favorite, my parents and I’s Thanksgiving day parade & brunch.
I have a lot to be grateful for in my life. Always the 3 F’s: Friends, Family, and Food. But also for my jobs and my blog and for all the little things too like a hot cups of tea, the way lavender smells, and how my kitty is just the most fuzzy.
It’s kind of a shame that we have just this one holiday where we say what we’re thankful for when gratitude should be something we practice every day. It’s called a practice for a reason and it’s something I work on doing more, but I know the effects of daily gratitude:
During a major bout of depression last year, I started a note in my phone called “Daily Self Gratitude” where every day before I went to bed, I wrote 1 thing I was proud/grateful for about myself. I only had 2 rules: that my gratitude was positive and was written in an active, present tense.
What I found was that I was able to do a 180 on my mindset and the way I viewed myself.
You know how if you speak negatively to plants, it can kill them? Yeah, so I was that sad succulent sitting on my window sill that was bringing itself back to life last November and December.
It’s easy to rattle off things we are grateful for but rarely do we actively acknowledge our gratefulness to ourselves. We are never as kind to ourselves as we are to others.
For me, I think that stemmed from comparing myself to others, as if anything I do is nothing compared to someone else. Maybe there will always be someone who is funnier, kinder, or more attractive than us, but that never detracts from how funny, kind, or attractive we are.
With my Daily Self Gratitude, I was able to acknowledge all the amazing qualities about myself without having to compare them to anyone else. The gratitude practice also established something good in my day. At the end of a shitty day, at least I had myself and for that I was grateful and happy.
I find that when you give yourself permission to replenish your well – you end up having so much more to give to others. Paying yourself first applies not only in business but in life. It’s not selfish – it’s necessary.
When thinking of gratitude this season, also be mindful of what is draining you and your ability to disconnect from negative things impacting your life. I could list a billion external things, but I want to remind you, dear reader, that you should not be the reason you need replenished. I’m talking about negative self talk and other ways we tear ourselves down.
This season, let’s be grateful that self deprecating humor is cheap and that we are much funnier than that. Negative self talk is something I struggle with too, but it use to be a lot worse when my opinion of myself was very low. So don’t use it around your friends, don’t go out of your way to do it, and think, “Instead of being a dick to myself, why don’t I just say something nice instead?”
Don’t be afraid of how being nice to yourself will change you.
Here’s a little manta that you can use for like, the rest of your life: I am mindful and grateful that I can listen to myself and change my mindset with my own words.
People do ask me how I became so confident in myself and I can never point an exact moment or action, but practicing this Daily Self Gratitude when I needed it the most certainly helped make a shitty situation much better.
Think about how you want to celebrate not only the holidays, but yourself this year. What small changes can you make in your life that build you up?
The first step in practice gratitude towards yourself is acknowledging and knowing that you are something to be grateful for.