Friday, August 01, 2008

A gratitude twist

We learn the magical lesson that making the most of what we have turns it into more.
--Codependent No More

Say thank you, until we mean it.

Thank God, life, and the universe for everyone and everything sent your way.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Gratitude makes things right.

Gratitude turns negative energy into positive energy. There is no situation or circumstance so small or large that it is not susceptible to gratitude's power. We can start with whom we are and what we have today, apply gratitude, then let it work its magic.

Say thank you, until you mean it. if you say it long enough, you will believe it.

Today, I will shine the transforming light of gratitude on all the circumstances of my life.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

My therapist asked me yesterday to begin expressing gratitude for myself. What? You mean I can't thank God for the sound of the birds, the warmth of the sun, fun times with my husband? I have to be grateful for me? Oh boy? I am a firm believer in the power of gratitude. I think it is a fantastic tool of recovery and life. But this is a real twist.

Gratitude for myself is supposed to be an exercise in building self-esteem. It makes sense, but I have to admit to being a bit lost. I think if I were sharing this exercise with someone else, it might be easy for me to make suggestions about what they can be grateful for in themselves. But I'm not always so good at practicing what I preach.

Let's see:

1. I am grateful for the gift of compassion I have.
2. I am thankful for the talents God has blessed me with.
3. I am thankful for my body for carrying around my soul and for giving me a life form so that I might interact with others.
4. I am thankful for my intellect.
5. I am grateful for my perserverance.
6. I am grateful for the way I love and embrace nature and the peace that gives me.
7. I am grateful for all the changes that I have worked hard to bring to my life over the past few years.
8. I am thankful that today I realize that I am an adult who has the right of choosing what I want to do with my body and my time.
9. I am grateful for the ability to make decisions.
10. I am thankful for my open heart to others.

What do you appreciate most about yourself? Does anyone else find this difficult?


vicariousrising said...

I have a hard time with this because I feel a reflexive reaction of shame for excess pride. Kind of hearing my mother's voice saying "oh really, who the hell do you really think you are?" And then, also, any good feeling about myself make me question whether that makes me a target for anything bad that happens to me.

Therapy has helped me quiet my mom's voice in my head, but she sneaks in there once in awhile. It's a slow process.

I like your gratitude list.

penni said...

i could possibly be speaking to a different person entirely, but a friend of mine just sent me a link here and i thought "i know her!!"

if you are different from someone i know through a recovery message board, then i will be most honored to get to know you here :)


Rae said...


I am someone you know ... if you are a fairly new member to said recovery board. And, you're one of few people (at least that I know of) from the board who has found my blog. I don't share it with members of the group, as there is some triggering stuff here and there, and it's also my little space in the world.

I'm glad you're here though!

penni said...

rae, yes it's me :) and i have been a blogger for 4 years so it would not have been long before i started seeking SLAA-type recovery blogs. mine is mainly about my AA recovery because i have a lot of float-overs from my spiritual blog i have had for a while. i am not open to receiving their feedback on certain things, which i am sure you can understand.

your blog is safe with me and i would appreciate it (if you ever visit mine) it would remain between us as well.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I did an exercise like this a little while back and found it really hard to say what I liked about myself without qualifying it. It was much easier to say what I didn't like. Sigh!

BizyLizy said...

I do find this difficult to do, though I loved reading your list & found myself beaming for you.

I don't really have a problem with identifying my positive traits. I am generous and loving and loyal. What stings, is that those very traits are what were used against me.

I am learning though, that this only says something about the kind of person who exploits the goodness of others, and nothing about myself. If anything, I can add another positive trait on my list to be thankful for:

I am thankful that now I am learning to be true to myself before anyone, and that I will guard my generous heart with tenatious fervor.

Thank you for this inspiring post, Rae.