The Most Powerful Gratitude Habit I've Learned
What is the most powerful gratitude habit I've learned?
"What if I practiced gratitude for everything just as it is—for what I hated and disliked? What if I practiced gratitude for how much I despised that ugly orange carpet, the holes in the walls, and all the wallpaper that soaked up the paint? What would happen if I plastered gratitude over every negative thought and emotion? Instead of just counting my blessings, I’d be grateful for everything, especially what I didn’t appreciate."
From "Make Miracles in Forty Days: Turning What You Have into What You Want" by Melody Beattie.
A few years ago, I came across this book by Melody Beattie. And this gratitude practice changed my life in the most powerful of ways. In the book, she shares how she asked a friend if she would do this gratitude practice with her. The idea was that they would send each other an email every day with their messy gratitude. And the agreement was that it would be unedited and they wouldn't comment on what the other had shared.
At this time in my life, I had a solid evening gratitude journaling practice. I was going through some challenges with our living situation and also struggling with self-esteem and self-worth. I knew there had to be a way to get through this with gratitude. And this practice of being grateful for what I didn’t appreciate was going to be it. I asked my friend Karen if she would join me. Without hesitation, she said yes. I'm guessing we both thought this would go on for a few months and then we wouldn't do it anymore.
My new practice started with me writing my daily morning gratitude in a note on my phone, and then sending it to Karen via text message. I wanted to keep a record of my gratitude separately and I'm grateful that I did. After that, I turn my phone off airplane mode and reconnect with the world.
When I first started writing, I could feel the frustration in my words. I didn't like this kind of gratitude practice and I wasn't sure if it was going to work. I kept going and so did Karen. Over time, this became habitual and we rarely miss a day. I noticed that as the months passed, my words changed and I found more and more things to be grateful for. And it became easier and easier to be grateful for what wasn't working. We started talking to each other in gratitude throughout the day and not just in the morning. We developed a language around being grateful for all of it.
A year ago this week, our family went through some of the most difficult things we've been through yet. The net result was that my parents left the home we had bought together and we began a challenging legal battle that's lasted almost a year. In a few weeks we are moving to a single family home for our family of 3. This daily gratitude practice, more than anything else, has been what's allowed me to shift my mindset dramatically in a year.
Looking back two years ago when I first started this, I barely recognized the woman I was. I'm proud of how far I've come and what we've been able to manifest as a family for a bright and exciting future. Karen and I continue to text each other daily and share our gratitude for everything.
If this is a practice you'd like to implement for yourself, I do recommend reading the book first. Make Miracles in Forty Days: Turning What You Have into What You Want by Melody Beattie.
Let me know if you decide to start this practice with a partner. It's the beginning of a life-changing practice.