giving in to gratitude

nico_laugh_gratitude.jpg

So I finally broke down and did it. After all these years, I finally bought a gratitude journal! I’ve been resisting it for what seems like forever… Since I’m in the field of personal growth, everywhere I turn, people recommend this practice. It will get you in touch with your joy! You will be a happier person! When you adopt an attitude of gratitude, nothing can stop you!

And I immediately felt allergic to the whole idea. Something about making these lists of what I’m grateful for made me feel, well, somehow not grateful enough. Weird, right? It felt forced… like it wasn’t okay to feel the full range of my emotions. A kind of looking on the bright side and pushing down the dark. My gratitude gremlin would kick in.

But you know what? I didn’t realize it until today but somebody, somebody really cute in my life, taught me about about gratitude in a really different way. Ben initiated a tradition of recalling our favorite parts of each day before bed. In his own way, he created the perfect kind of gratitude ritual for our family. By asking a different question, I got to the heart of my own gratitude.

I was at the Paper Source the other day and passed by this beautiful orange book. Before I knew it I had purchased it and started filling the pages with my favorite parts.

I think I feel better already. 😉

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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.

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16 Comments

  1. Rachel

    that’s really sweet! i like the idea of favorite parts. i resisted the gratitude journal for a long time too, there was something a little too wifty about it for me. so mine is a tongue in cheek “things that didn’t suck” journal.

  2. Leslie

    I do the favorite parts of the day with my son too. It’s such a great way to end the day.
    Focus on the positive, right?
    Great to hear you started doing something that you’ve been thinking about for a while. Maybe you need it more now than you did before. Life with a baby can be hard sometimes and keeping our perspective is important.

  3. tea_austen

    In the bleakest times of my life, I’ve cultivated a practice of ending each day by mentally listing ten things I’m grateful for. It helps.
    Sometimes I think happiness is actually an appropriate amount of gratitude.
    xox to you!

  4. Life in Eden {amy}

    ha ha, I have a gratitude gremlin for sure. just like you put it — for me it still feels sort of forced. guess I’m not ready yet. it was fun to hear a life coach has resisted it 😉
    we do the nightly gratitude with our kids. we ask — what was your favorite part of the day? the toddlers always say — going outside (even this winter when we haven’t!) I think it is a great thing.
    enjoy that beautiful orange book!

  5. Sarah

    I, too, resisted for a long time for the same reasons. Started this year with a mini-Moleskine (daily planner (so I wouldn’t miss any days) Just doing as you are: the favorite part of the day. Just the most mundane things: flannel pj’s, french toast, a phone call. Sometimes I draw pictures and use different colored inks. Having fun.

  6. Elizabeth

    Every night at the dinner table we take turns talking about our favorite part of the day- with various members of the family acting as chairperson. (We have 3 children ages 6 and under…so it gets interesting some nights.) I make a point of writing what everyone says and I keep that journal tucked away, with my own personal notes added in the margins and photos too. I feel like it will help me hold on to this time in my life when it’s long gone and my children are grown.
    Enjoy your journal!

  7. katrina

    i rec’d the very same gratitude journal from a dear friend – i carry it with me. when my kids were small, we did “highs & lows” each night – sometimes we called the “happy things & sad things.” i think it taught them to be grateful, but to also give a voice to the not-so happy parts of life.

  8. Kimberly

    Love this idea of the gratitude journal!

  9. tammie

    good for you! i would love it if you could do an update in a few weeks to let us know if it has improved your happiness! i have been writing in my gratitude journal for over a year now ~ i write in it right before bed, and it is such an awesome way to transition from day to night. we also have a nightly ritual with our kids to each say what we are thankful for. it’s cool because now during the day i will sometimes hear them say, “oh, i’m gonna say i’m thankful for THIS tonight!”

  10. Jodi

    You inspired me! Started my gratitude journal today, I’m in need of some daily inspiration and I think this is going to do the trick.
    xo

  11. Sue Lynn

    I love how Nico seems to be in the pic as a sort of measure of scale for the book (like a quarter will be used in a picture to give an idea of size :). Next to him the book looks normal size, but it’s actually compact and portable. When I read this post, I immediately linked over to Amazon and bought it. I have heard so many people say that paying attention to the blessings in our lives helps us stay positive. Now this little book will be my repository for everything I have to be thankful for. My first entry may very well be, “I’m grateful for Andrea and her thoughtful and inspiring blog.” Thank you!

  12. halfling

    Nico’s smile is so contagious!
    I’ve heard the concept of keeping a gratitude journal, but never knew anyone who did so. What a fantabulous idea! During my regular journaling, it’s so easy to focus on the rotten parts of the day/week and entirely forget about all the good..

  13. Kate D

    We must have been on the same wavelength! 🙂 I do a monthly crafting afternoon with some friends and our February activity was creating Gratitude Journals (I blogged the instructions). I do believe that we have SO MUCH to be grateful for…and I’m really excited to get into a daily practice. Enjoy yours!

  14. HeidiRenee

    wuff.
    that’s a big diagnosis. my heart is holding those words for you today Andrea.
    as i sat with my 12 year old son in hospital yesterday for an IV to stop the dehydration from the effects of high blood sugars and vomiting, I was reminded that only a couple of years ago I was sitting by his bedside wondering if he’d make it through the appendix explosion he was enduring. We have been hospital free since that episode and I realized that a life long treatable disease like Type 1 diabetes is so much more bearable than horrible, catastrophic things that happen that are totally out of our control.
    I am not saying that I want Jake to have diabetes, but there are things that I can’t even imagine having to handle – so I am grateful. I know my son in a much deeper way and have a bond nothing can break. Weeks spent in hospitals, drives back and forth, meals shared just the two of us – all of it comes with this horrible diagnosis we have – but there is some beauty and depth that comes too. I pray that for you and Ben.

  15. traceyclark

    i have that EXACT gratitude journal. i got it from Brene (won it on her blog). i LOVE it and it has totally changed my life. : ) yay!

  16. 6512 and growing

    My husband and I have had “gratitude lists” on the fridge (just a sheet of paper) during 2 very hard times, and they really did help.
    Also, for awhile we had a huge piece of paper titled “gratitude” in our bathroom and when friends came over (we were sharing the house with 3 others, so it was a busy house) they wrote their gratitude on the list. It got very full and funny and fun to read. We still have it (this was 8 yrs ago).
    May your gratitude journal bring great unexpected things.

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