Something So Simple

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In my last blog I talked about some of the greatest challenges I have ever faced in my life.  And I also promised to share some of the lessons, tips, techniques – whatever you want to call them – that helped pull me out of the darkness. 

Well, here’s the first one:

It sounds so simple, but it made a huge impact on helping me believe in myself once again.

It’s called the Gratitude List.

But this Gratitude List is slightly different.

I actually read about it in a magazine, and the article promised that it would make me feel better – or at least give me a few minutes of peacefulness.  And at that time, I was willing to try anything!

I remember reading that you have to write down what you are grateful for every day for 30 days.  That’s the key – 30 days.   I thought to myself, “All right, I can do this.  This is simple. ” 

I had just gone through a major change in my life, so I lived in a tiny apartment with no furniture.   I pulled out a pad of paper and a pen, I sat on the floor and thought:

“OK, what am I grateful for today?”  And I came up with………. nothing.  Not one thing.

Because when you are in such a dark place, you can’t think of what you are grateful for.  All you can think of is what you’ve lost. 

So I said to myself:  Nancy, you are not getting up until you think of three things you are grateful for.  That’s all I ask of you – three things. 

It took some time but eventually I did come up with three things.  And every day I would pull out that same pad of paper and start writing things I was grateful for that day.  And amazingly, with each day, the list got longer and the things I was grateful for came easier to me. 

Then about half way through the 30 days, I noticed a shift.  I noticed that the things I was writing down when I first started were very superficial.  I wrote: thank you for my shoes, thank you for my pretty bracelet, thank you for my car.  But as time went on, I wrote things like: thank you for my friends, thank you for the love of my family, thank you for my perseverance.  And I realized these are things I cannot buy with money and things that no one can ever take away from me.  No matter what happens they will always be with me.  

It was at that point that I truly began to feel better, and started the long, confusing process of putting my life back together again.

The Gratitude List is big, and I didn’t expect it. 

So I’m asking you for just 30 days, every day, take out a pad of paper and pen and write down what you are grateful for. Take some time in the morning, at lunchtime or in the evening, but find some time every day.  You WILL see a change in your attitude.  It will help make your life easier, happier and more peaceful. 

Please, let me know your experience with the Gratitude List.  Next week, I’ll share another powerful lesson that helped me turn my life around.

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