The Gratitude Party

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?

11 thoughts on “The Gratitude Party

  1. I am doing the happy dance for both of us (of course, you can join in at any time!) to have made the Top 50 list! I am grateful to have connected with you this year Karen and look forward to how 2012 will unfold.


    • And you didn’t just make the list gorgeous lady, coming in at number 10 is so worth a big boogie (ya listening Husband?!)

      I have enjoyed meeting you Sandi – you are a daily ray of loveliness in my virtual life.

      Lots of Christmas love to you…x

  2. This is the great battle we wage! It’s the pull between feeling good about what we’ve done and frustrated about not being where we envisioned. Maybe one way to overcome the miserable angst we can feel despite our progress is to aim more at the process than the end result. If I say that I’ll lose some number of pounds or will make $1,000,000 this year, I will very likely be frustrated at the end of it. But if my goal is something directly and immediately under my control (I will finish such-and-such a project or will work out 5 times a week), the outcome will be less frustrating because my focus isn’t there.

    But I know the feeling! In the meantime, consider this my part of the gratitude group hug!

    • Hi Ken

      What I love about your comment most is that you don’t mention your new found fame! As Mr Number One of THE list, I am throwing a big congratulations your way. And you know you have to lead the happy dance with Sandi and I? 🙂

      I like your thinking on focusing on what we are in control of – I am much more of an outcome type of gal. But I certainly know that I have achieved a lot this year and that I have so much to be grateful for.

      Thank you for coming to The Gratitude Party Ken and I wish you and yours a lovely Christmas…x

  3. Hi Karen,

    I do think it is important that you figure out why you see the 10% unfinished and not the 90% achieved. In my experience when we do this it is our best attempt to do something important for ourselves (it is just that we do it in a less than optimal way).

    It seems to me that you have come a huge distance in your healing over the year or so I’ve been reading your blog.

    Hope you have a great Christmas with lots to be grateful for.

    • Hi Evan

      Yes, will have a think about it. Sometimes, I think these thoughts are related to getting older and time running out: I don’t want the refurbishment project to run into next year, I have other projects to accomplish. But as I sit here in my gorgeous – 90 % finished – apartment I know I am being completely bonkers!

      Yes, my health is completely different to it was when I started SATC, which means my whole quality of life has been transformed. I think I sometimes forget how poorly I was. And yes, I have so much to be grateful for.

      I hope you and your partner have a lovely Christmas break (or non-Christmas break!) Thank you as ever for taking the time to visit Evan…x

  4. You have made amazing strides since I started reading your blog about a year ago. The biggest thing you have given me is the gift of hope. Hope of recovery from this horrible illness. Reading about your recovery over this past year has lifted my spirits. You have worked hard and accomplished much. You have also given me a light at the end of the tunnel. Merry Christmas and thank you so much for the wonderful present.

    • Hi Peg

      What a lovely message – thank you.

      As I was just saying to Evan, I think I sometimes forget how ill I actually was. It has been a bumpy recovery road for sure, but it is so worth it.

      There is hope Peg – it’s not just me, I know lots of other people who have recovered. But I know how tough it is, especially on a bad day. I truly hope that the light keeps shining for you and your health continues to improve.

      Wishing you a lovely family Christmas…xx

  5. Good post Karen. It’s a good reminder to all of us to remember the journey we’ve already taken, and everything we’ve already achieved to get to a certain point, even if we haven’t quite finished what it is we are doing.

    Happy New Year.

  6. Pingback: Nip and tweak | The Reinvention Tour

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