Finding Gratitude Even During the Hardest Moments….
Last Sunday my mother said goodbye to a congregation that she had served as an interim pastor for 18 months. The day was filled with celebration of her work together and they had become a congregation that she was particularly fond of. They showered her with all kinds of gifts, but the greatest gift was the many people who said “thank you”. She was thankful for them as well and expressed that to them. Those two little words made her day and as I silently observed the appreciation that was given to my mother, I felt extremely blessed to be a part of it. The gratitude filled me as it did my mother.
Long after the gifts are opened and we part ways, the gift of gratitude remains in my heart. The gift of gratitude ripples through time forever. It has been said that you can’t be mad (or frustrated or jealous or any negative emotion) and be thankful at the same time. That is so true. Experiencing birth and bringing home your new baby is a joyful time, but it is also a time that can be filled with tiredness that brings frustration and a number of negative emotion as well. However, even when you are very tired and long for sleep, gratitude will keep you grounded.
Here are some of the things that gratitude can do for you.
- Increase your self-esteem. When you count your blessings in life, your blessings bless you! Being thankful for all you have and for all those who love you gives you a platform to believe that life is good. When life is good, YOU feel good, even when the children act up or the baby won’t stop crying. When you feel good about yourself, you are less likely to get bogged down in the small stuff.
- Your relationships improve. Everyone craves a little appreciation or acknowledgement. Expressing gratitude for your partner even when he doesn’t put the diaper on exactly as you showed him, builds the relationship and closeness. Even in conflict resolution it is far better to say, “thank you for letting me know how you feel” rather than asking “why didn’t you tell me this before?” The first statement is positive and affirming. Saying “thank you” is a positive way to stay in communication.
- You can sleep better. Yes, gratitude can help you sleep! It is a well-known fact that how you sleep says a lot about you. If you find yourself tossing and turning all night, you are probably worried about something. Figure out what that is and be thankful for the message that may bring you more understanding or bring more light. Seeing the issue in a positive way can soothe your frayed nerves and help you relax. That translates to a better day!
- You are more fun to be around. Hanging out with negative people who say bad things about the world or gossip all day inevitably drags you down. Your spirit is filled with negativity. Even the news will upset you enough to make your feel negative. Spending time being thankful brings you into a positive light again. Choose your interactions with friends and even family members wisely. Spending time with someone who sees the glass half full will help you to laugh more at things like the baby’s milk that just landed on your clean shirt or a flat tire before you even start your day. These are things that can slow you down enough to enjoy the moment rather than rushing ahead. Perhaps just spending time in the garage with your partner while the tire is being changed can be a moment of connection through gratitude.
- You become a better partner, parent, employee or boss. At work, just as in your personal relationship, being grateful for someone can boost their confidence and overall performance. If you are a leader at work, your kind words of gratitude for a job well done even in something very small, helps people strive to be better at their job. As an employee, expressing gratitude for a boss’s help, even in a small way can help them feel like they are doing a good job and be more open to you. Being thankful for your new role as a mother, projects good into your family and world and strengthens your relationship. You become a team, even if you don’t have a partner. Those who support you are your team! Have you expressed gratitude for grandparents, babysitters, daycare workers or friends who help you to be a better mother? Saying thank you to them, and especially being grateful for yourself, can give you so much more than being critical, even if things aren’t perfect or others annoy you sometime.
Two little words, “thank you” can change your whole world for the better and bless you along the way with many good things.
We are grateful for you in all that you do as a woman, mother and career person in the world.
Lindsay Gibson, Owner/CEO Healthy Mom Happy Baby LLC