It’s July 11th, and I’m only on Day four of July’s Daily Gratitude challenge. At this rate, I’m going to be working on this challenge for a while – but you know what they say – better late than pregnant. Especially at my age – I had a hard enough time being an accidental mother at 37 – pretty sure getting pregnant at my (undisclosed) age would drive me over the edge.
I will be forever grateful to Suzie for issuing her challenge. My gratitude is twofold:
1. Focusing on the things I’m grateful for leaves little room for my brain weasels to remind me of all the things that have/are/could go wrong. Don’t get me wrong, they still work with the EIC to remind me that life is a four letter word – but perspective is important. We can’t change our situation, but we CAN change how we react to it.
2. I’m writing again. The loss, grief and stress of the past few months had killed my creativity, and I was pretty sure I’d never write again (please tell me you’d miss me if I left – white lies make the world go ’round). Her challenge was just the spark I needed, and I was relieved that the words were flowing again. Or they were, until today. Well, not actually today. That was a lie (and not a white one).
They were flowing until I came up against Daily Gratitude Challenge Day 4: The Greatest Advice I’ve Ever Received. For some reason, it scares me. Weird, I know – but I’ve come to grips with the fact that I am a not normal. It’s okay – normal is just a setting on the washing machine.
But I’m curious. Why would I be afraid of good (or the greatest) advice? We’re talking heart racing, sweaty palmed full fledged (albeit low-level) anxiety.
Deep breath. Time for a little soul searching.
It might be because I’ve found that giving people advice rarely works, but I’d be lying again (have I mentioned that I lie and swear a lot? It’s true. Or maybe it’s not. I could be lying).
In all honesty, I think it’s because I haven’t always listened to the advice I’ve been given. I don’t know why. I suppose it’s because I’m stubborn. I come from a long line of
stubborn strong-willed woman, and it appears that I’ve passed it along to the girl. I’m alright with that.
Or maybe it’s because the greatest advice I’ve ever received came from my mother, but it wasn’t really advice, per se. Her lessons came not from what she said, but from how she lived her life. I think it still fits the challenge, don’t you?
Be kind to everyone you meet. You have no idea what other people are dealing with. That car that raced through traffic and cut you off? They might be racing to the hospital. That person who just yelled at you for no reason? They might have just gotten devastating news. In a world where you can be anything, be kind.
Always show respect to others (not just your elders). I struggled with this one growing up. I still believe that respect must be earned – but until they’ve shown a reason for it, there’s no reason to be disrespectful.
Speak up when you see injustice. I am proud to say that I’ve passed this lesson on to the girl. Perhaps too well. She made the mistake of standing up to her fifth grade teacher (the woman was a screamer and a bully) and her grades suffered for it. My only wish is that she had said something to her parents about the issue – but she stood up on behalf of her classmates, and we are #proudparents.
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Full disclosure – I have struggled with this one too. In fact, I am still struggling to remember that
Talking about people behind their backs is never okay. Never. Full stop.
I can’t remember where I heard this last piece of advice, but it’s one that I share often. I have to be honest – I struggle with this one all the time. I could blame the EIC, but since my evil inner critic is just a voice in my head, I have no one to blame but myself.
Be as kind to yourself as you are to your friends.
P.S. I really love this bit of advice from Suziespeaks –
Self pity stops all progress. I wrote about this a few years ago after watching an inspiring YouTube video from Terry Crews. “You’re not allowed to feel self-pity, because you are doing that to yourself. The only way to energise yourself is to think gratitude. Think about the things you got… Thank god I’m alive, I’m breathing, I’m healthy, I’m here – you can always find something to have gratitude about… Be graciously thankful for everything that you have.”