Because my most common gripe is ‘they never say thank you’. If somebody thanks me for something it immediately makes my day that little bit better, regardless of how small the thing I’m being thanked for. I would like to be the kind of person who makes people’s days better rather than people dreading it when they see me coming because they see me as a whinging time suck who will just bring them down. I know people like this – I don’t want to be them.
As a teenager I suffered from depression, and I still suffer with social anxiety, although it’s a lot less acute than it used to be. I struggle to believe that I am the kind of person people want to have around, and there are days when I know I’m not the kind of person I’d want to be around, let alone anyone who didn’t have to be around me! Some days I can hear myself and all I can hear is complaining and I have to catch myself and play the ‘just being glad’ game. If this wasn’t proof of the relevance of books in my life, I don’t know what is! (For those who don’t know, the game is from Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter and basically involves turning every negative situation into a positive one. It’s awesome).
My word is gratitude and I feel like it’s the most important word I could have chosen this year. Yes there are many other contenders: simplify, love, calm, adventure being just a few, but in the end gratitude is so much bigger than all of those (except maybe love), because it encompasses them all. If I am grateful for what I have and grateful for my skills I think it will help me to be more responsible with my spending and purchasing. If I am actively grateful (meaning I show my gratitude effectively) to those I love it means they will feel that I love them rather than just hearing the words. If I am grateful for the things I have, I will waste less time worrying about what I don’t have or the things which could possibly go wrong in the future. One of the things I’ve already thought a lot about is the importance of being grateful for the present moment and actually being present in it rather than wasting it thinking about all the things which may or may not happen at vaguely unspecified times in the future. If I am grateful for the opportunities presented to me, I am much more likely to say yes to the promise of adventures. My word chose me I think, because whenever I think about it and what it means I literally feel like everything inside me relaxes and all the stress drains away. This is what I need. How many beautiful things in my life do I not see because I’m too busy complaining about something else?
When I act on my word and think about it during the day, when I bite my tongue to keep my instant (usually not very nice) response back and think about the situation before responding to it, I already feel calmer and more peaceful. I won’t say I feel like a different person because that would require some actual evidence of change and I think 23 days in is a bit early for that, but I feel positive about the direction that this project is taking me in. I feel like it’s empowering me and giving me the tools to actually enact change in myself and I’m hopeful that by the end of the year I will have made the beginnings of a real change and taken the first steps on the road towards a more grateful and less bitter self.