‘Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.’ Jaques Maritain
Over the last couple of weeks, I have found myself thinking about all the things I haven’t achieved this year: the apartment refurbishment that isn’t quite finished, that I am not the successful writer I aspire to be, the jelly belly that hasn’t reached its optimistic six-pack status. There is something about the end of the year approaching that makes me reflect on where I am at in my life. Maybe it is simply that I am reminded of the precious nature of time and that another year has passed. Or maybe it is all the inevitable articles that are out there on getting ready for success in 2012.
Now don’t get me wrong, I will not be producing a detailed 2011 end of year report on results Vs goals, but I am in a period of reflection. Actually no, it’s not reflection – it’s more a period of self-criticism. I am forgetting to focus on what I have achieved this year, my focus is set to zoom in on all the areas which I am not completely happy with.
I feel annoyed with myself that the apartment refurbishment is only 90 % finished; the Type A in me can’t seem to celebrate how much I have done. I seem to ignore the extensive work I have completed: the emptying of rooms for new floors to be put down; the hours of searching for perfect sofas or wallpaper or curtains; the tedious task of selling old furniture. It’s been a huge project and our apartment has been transformed. So why do I see the 10% that still needs to be done and not the glorious 90% that is finished?
I am also disappointed with myself that I still have a small muffin-top; that despite my efforts my belly still insists on poking out over my jeans. I am forgetting to celebrate that my body has been consistently strong enough this year to do hard-core exercise four times a week; that I can jump around for an hour easily; that when choosing new exercise DVDs the other day, I dismissed many because they weren’t challenging enough!
And I feel frustrated with myself because I haven’t achieved as much towards my new life as a writer, as the impatient person in me, would like. Again, I am forgetting to celebrate all that I have achieved: setting up The Reinvention Tour, guest posting on established blogs, doing my first paid writing gig (of which there have now been a few), and buying the iPad so that I can create more time to write.
I also seem to have totally forgot to celebrate the improvements in my health. After over seven years of working so hard to achieve recovery, now I have, I seem to have forgotten how big a deal this is. I simply couldn’t have started most of the goals that I am talking about a couple of years ago, let alone make headway on them. I am starting to take my health for granted again – which of course is normal, and part of the recovery process, but Jeez after the seven-year battle, I think I’ll just take a moment, a moment to say yes – THIS IS AMAZING.
I am always impressed by the power of gratitude, the power of focusing on what is good, rather than the not so good. I do my gratitude journal every night (yes, I am the Queen of Cheese) and it’s a lovely way to end the day. Of course, not every day is perfect, some days can be a long way from perfect, but by spending 10 minutes thinking about what I have enjoyed, what I have learnt, what I have achieved and what I am grateful for at the end of each day, I have embraced the benefits of practicing gratitude.
I was out for dinner with my best friend last night, and she is having a pretty tough time at the moment, but despite this she said to me ‘you know what Karen, I have so much to be grateful for’. And she went on to list all the wonderful things in her life. As we left the restaurant, arm in arm, slightly giddy from a couple of glasses of wine, we were both laughing and feeling great about the world. In the midst of a really difficult time, she is still able to find the joy; I am so proud of her.
So in the spirit of gratitude, I am stepping away from the self-criticism and moving firmly into the celebration camp.
And whilst we’re in this mushy mood, I would like to finish on one more piece of gratitude: I made THE list. Yes, I am so chuffed that I am on the list for The Top 50 Personal Development Blogs of 2011. Yes, it was near the bottom of the list, but as we are being cheerleaders not cheercritics: I made the list! Thank you so much to those of you who supported my nomination, and to those of you who comment here and make The Reinvention Tour the fabulous place that it is.
So if you are up for it, how about one big group gratitude hug? Let’s share the love and celebrate what we HAVE achieved this year, what we feel grateful for, and leave the ‘not quites’ for another day, or as a starting point for all the great things we are going to achieve in 2012.
Go on…be bold, be proud, be you. What have you achieved this year? What are you grateful for?