There are moments I look back on, astounded at how insignificant they seemed in the moment and how transformational they are in the present. One such shift started with a simple question.
It was a time in my life where all I could think about was what my life was lacking. I was more likely to list off all the ways my life wasn't working than to engage in optimistic conversation. I was a very glass half-empty kind of gal. Complaining was the name of my game and people were getting sick of me. I was getting sick of me! That kind of energy is infectious in a detrimental way. Once I headed down the lack track, that track seemed to grow longer and wider with each passing moment.
One day that all changed when one person chose to block the negative energy with one question that irritated me very much in the moment.
What do you have? She went on to explain she was well aware of all the things I didn't have and that weren't happening in my life. She also gently explained it was entirely possible my life wasn't that bad.
Feeling rejected and alone, I ended the conversation and stormed home. For a few days, I sat in self-pity. And, then I decided to try answering the question. It was uncomfortable. Listing what I did have wasn't easy at first. In fact, I think that first listing was more like one tiny piece of positivity and even that was painful.
At that point in my life, I called this process counting my blessings. It was one of my first experiments with the power of mindset. I tried to shut down the "I don't haves" and replaced them with the "I do haves". The more I practiced this, the happier I became. It was pretty amazing. I kept practicing this until I was in the Fearless Living coaching certification program and was introduced to the idea of practicing gratitude. I realized I was already doing this by a different name.
That first transformation of a "don't have" into a "do have" seemed inconsequential over twenty years ago. However, today, I couldn't live my life with fullness and joy and trust and peace without it. Today, I see the total and giant transformation one small shift made all those years ago. That small shift gave me an entirely different and much better quality of life.
Call it whatever works for you. Gratitude. Blessings. All that's good. Whatever you call it, practice it. If you have never tried something like this, start slow and be patient with yourself. It will take repetition to rewire your brain over time until you live your life differently. If you are already practicing gratitude in some way, consider taking it deeper through a lovingkindness meditation or writing out 100 gratitudes for the year on December 31st or including your family in the practice. We have so many ways the world attempts to convince us this life has very little for us. Let's practice remembering the abundance and step into a whole new way of seeing this beautiful, complex journey!