The hero cookbook, ingredient 1:
My mum is just like any other mum: “Why haven’t you finished your food? You should be grateful you’ve got enough to eat!” I think most of us have heard that one. And it’s always made me feel rebellious: “You don’t get to tell me how I should feel!” (That, and I don’t think stuffing myself has anything to do with feeling grateful).
Honestly, that’s probably the reason why blogs about gratitude still make me twitch (“Goddamn hippies!”), but these days I’m trying to make gratitude practice part of my everyday life. Here’s why.
A while back, I was feeling particularly down. I craved affection. Reassurance. People telling me they love me. I focused on those thoughts for a while and then something interesting happened: they got worse. Before I knew what happened, I got sucked into a vortex of thoughts telling me how I didn’t have enough affection in my life (I’d like to point out that this is not even true, I’m blessed with the most amazing partners and friends). As tears were streaming down my face, I opened Facebook and spend a few fruitless hours or so on social media trying to fill the void I felt inside. Not very heroic and very much a downward spiral.
I got saved by a message from a friend working on their business. They felt stuck. They felt like they couldn’t do it. Their questions were right up my alley and before I knew I felt a rush of energy as I came up with some ideas to help them. Helping them (part of working on my quest) made me feel… good. Happy. Sure, maybe I got stood up three days in a row, but I still had my amazing business and so many other good things in life.
Which is how I realized working on my quest made me feel grateful.
And then I decided to try and turn it around.
The next time I felt sad and unfulfilled and thought life was unfair I tried to come up with some things to be truly grateful for. But not just random things. I wanted to think of something that would make me feel abundant so that I would want to share it with others. Like my desire to look for solutions in any kind of situation. I reminded myself how lucky I was to have this trait. How it helped me get unstuck in so many situations. And how it wasn’t to be taken for granted.
I reminded myself of all that, and also of all those people I know who – for whatever reason – don’t have this. Suddenly, I felt like I had a lot. Life was still unfair, but a different kind of unfair: I had something others didn’t. Which led to a very natural “I want to help those who got less lucky!” Which, in turn, gave me just the boost I needed to get my ass off the couch and put my energy into something worthwhile.
As results slowly began to manifest, I felt better and better. More and more abundant. Like I had even more to give to my quest. Which I did. Which made me feel better.
I can go on and on but I’m pretty sure by now you see the picture. Long story short: the downward spiral became an upward spiral.
What I discovered is so simple, really:
Gratitude leads to abundance and abundance leads to the feeling you can be a hero.
That’s why (and also because of Thanksgiving) I’m going to spend the rest of the month on some resources around gratitude practices.
In the mean time, let me know if you have any questions, suggestions, struggles, opinions, personal practices or anything else you’d love to share.
I’d be very grateful 😉