Several years ago, I had a light bulb moment. I was cooking dinner (spaghetti and meatballs, yum) for my family. As I bustled around the kitchen, pulling ingredients from the fridge and pantry, tools from the drawers and cabinets, and other sundry items from various places, it occurred to me.
There are people in the world who don’t have tools with which to cook.
There are people in the world who don’t have food to cook, or safe water to drink, or even a kitchen from which to feed their families.
As I opened the silverware drawer and pulled out a clean spoon to stir the sauce, I said a quiet thank you. As I served my family dinner, I said a quiet thank you. Looking around the table at their beautiful faces, another quiet thank you.
So, even though I had to stop working on an article (which was due by midnight that night) in order to cook dinner, even though my initial reaction was less than enthusiastic about putting my work on hold to cook dinner, even though I would have rather put my head down and cranked out the work–I found reasons for gratitude in the smallest things. And guess what?
It changed my mood and my feelings about the evening completely. I still met my deadline, but I also spent time with my kids and husband with a smile on my face, rather than wishing away the time. I remembered how very lucky I am to have my family and how grateful I am to be able to spend time with them.
So here’s my bottom line folks–stuff happens. Instead of getting upset when life decides that you’re going to have to cook dinner when you’re trying to meet a deadline (or say, you get a phone call during your favorite show…or anytime things don’t seem to go the way you expect them to go), try changing your perspective.
Instead of being annoyed with the interruptions life offers, consider the other side of the coin. Remember that there’s always something for which to be grateful–there’s always a silver lining.
Bliss Mission: Use your silverware drawer to remind you to be grateful!
The next time you go and open your silverware drawer, full of clean and usable tools, take a moment to be grateful.
Even though you might feel silly at first, I promise you that finding reasons to be grateful in your daily hum-drum activities will help you to change your perspective–and your life. Finding happiness and joy isn’t as hard as we think.
Today I challenge you to notice those little blessings in your life and to be grateful for them. Try this little technique for today, and note your state of mind when you go to sleep tonight. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Tell me in the comments: What are you grateful for today?
I am thankful each day for the pleasure I receive from my physical experiences and intentionally cultivate the joy I get from them.
I even find necessary chores, like exercising, to be pleasurable. If I feel tired or lacking in motivation, I remind myself of the pleasure and move past any protests that may come from my mind. Moving my body is exhilarating, so I do it as often as I can.
I choose physical activities that I enjoy the most so that I can get the most satisfaction from my experiences. If I want to swim, I give myself permission to do it regularly. If lifting weights or doing yoga feels best to me, I carve out time for those activities.
My senses also delight me in everyday life. The fragrances of childhood holidays or warm summer days bring great richness to my life. Foods I love entertain my palate. And I luxuriate in the feel of soft fabrics moving over my skin as I go through my days in clothes that I love to wear.
Today, I make time to revel in my body and the joyous experiences it provides me.
1. What are some physical activities I love that I may not have participated in recently?
2. What are some physical activities that feel good to me that I have done recently?
3. What are my three favorite scents? Most-loved foods? Clothing items that are enjoyable to wear? How do I feel when I smell, eat, or wear these things?
It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes. ~Sally Field
As I was checking my email today, I received a notification that a new comment had arrived on a post I did on this blog about how to stop feeling like you’re not good enough. This comment touched me so deeply that I felt the need to reach out to the commenter, Kate, and anyone else in her position.
I have been doing what that article recommends. Unfortunately, I’m feeling even more inferior every time. It is getting worse, day by day.
The first thing I want Kate to know is that she’s not alone. According to Dr. Joe Rubino, approximately 85% of people have experienced feelings of inferiority at some time in their lives. That’s nearly EVERYONE. I realize that doesn’t make it all better, but sometimes just knowing you’re not alone can help one begin the healing process.
And, for Kate and anyone who feels like they’re not good enough, I’d like to offer a few more suggestions, in addition to the ones made in this post.
Remember That You Are Freaking Fabulous
If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. ~Vincent Van Gogh
Often times, when we feel like we’re not good enough, we are focusing on all of the things we think are ‘wrong’ with us. We worry that people won’t like us, or that they’ll think bad things about us. We feel like we don’t look good enough, that we’re not smart enough, that we’re just generally terrible people.
But what does this get us? More reasons to feel crappy about ourselves. So, I propose that we start focusing on the things we like about ourselves, the things that make us proud. Maybe you’re a good painter, or you can cook a perfect souffle, or you’ve never met an animal who doesn’t love you. Perhaps you have a beautiful smile, sparkling eyes or a great pair of legs. There is something special about every single person on the planet, and you’re no exception.
Sit down with a piece of paper and write down at least ten GOOD things about you. Write down things you love about your body (it gets you from point A to B, for example!), things you love about your personality (that sparkling wit of yours, maybe) and things you love about your life in general (you have good friends or a close-knit family, a roof over your head, etc.)
Then spend a few minutes feeling grateful for each thing on that list. Gratitude is a powerful tool, and when you focus and are grateful for the things you love in life, you draw more things to love into your life.
And Speaking of Gratitude
If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get. ~Frank A. Clark
Start a gratitude journal. You can even create a private blog for your gratitude journal, if you like. That’s what I did, since as a writer, I’m nearly always near a computer. Try to write in it each day. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated–just start each entry by saying “Today, I am so very grateful for…” and let it flow.
At first, it will feel a little awkward, but once you get going, it’ll flow like water. If you have trouble thinking of things to be grateful for, why not start with the fact that you woke up today and work from there. You can be grateful for your health, your senses, your friends and family, your home, your ability to read–the list goes on and on.
This practice alone can significantly improve your general outlook on life. And, as a nice little side effect, it can help to improve your self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. It works because as you spend more time focusing on the good things in your life and less time focusing on the things you want to change, the law of attraction works in your favor, bringing more reasons to feel good into your life.
Follow a Passion
“The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment.”~Earl Nightingale
Everyone has some thing or activity in their lives that they’re passionate about. For me, it’s writing. I have always known that I wanted to be a writer, and have followed that passion on some level for most of my life. The years I spent scribbling into a journal between meetings and writing corporate publications for the companies I worked for were a little tough, but I survived and lived to have the opportunity to follow my passion full-time.
One friend of mine is passionate about helping animals. She blogs about animals, volunteers for the Humane Society and helps raise funds for animal rights and assistance groups. Another friend is passionate about helping kids–and after getting her Masters Degree in Social Work, she has become a school social worker. Both are very happy in their lives.
While you may not have the option to “quit your day job” right now, there’s nothing stopping you from finding and following your passion on the side. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer. You could start by doing some research and taking some classes. If you already know how to design patterns and sew, why not start making clothes? You can set up a cheap or free website and start selling.
Nothing wrong with starting small–just do SOMETHING to follow your passion, anything at all. Give yourself permission to call yourself a fashion designer (or writer, or artist, or actor, or astronaut, or whatever you want to be.) And then go and do, be and have what you want!
Studies show that people who follow their passions, whether in their careers or just as a hobby, are significantly happier than people who don’t.
“The secret of attraction is to love yourself. Attractive people judge neither themselves nor others. They are open to gestures of love. They think about love, and express their love in every action. They know that love is not a mere sentiment, but the ultimate truth at the heart of the universe.” ~Deepak Chopra
Most people unconsciously judge others. It’s human nature, and it doesn’t make you a bad person–but it might make you feel like one. When you are focusing, consciously or otherwise, on the faults in other people, you’re going to be more likely to see them in yourself too. The best way to change this pattern is to begin intentionally finding something good in every single person you meet.
So, for every person in your life and every person you meet, find at least one thing about them that makes them special. And be free with the compliments. Even if you barely know a person, you can find SOMETHING to compliment them about–and not only will you make their day, you’ll walk away feeling good about yourself too. Remember, what you put out into the world is what comes back to you. So if you’re walking around finding good and beautiful things and sharing the love by freely passing out compliments? You’ll find that you’re attracting the same back to yourself–beauty, love, compliments–and ultimately, a renewed sense of self.
A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her. ~David Brinkley
I hope that these suggestions help you as you move into a new place of peace and self worth. Know that you are worthy, you are special and you are an amazing person. Even (and especially) when you feel at your lowest, try to change your perception and see the beauty and good things all around you. Be grateful for your life, for your SELF, and for all of the good things in your life.
I have been where you are, Kate, and I know the pain and despair that comes with feeling like you’re not good enough. Nearly every person alive has felt just like you feel now. The trick is to decide that you don’t WANT to feel that way any more, and to start taking action to change it. And then, Kate, you have to BELIEVE that you can have the life you want. Believe it and trust that its yours, and watch as your life begins to transform itself to match your true divine desires. Keep your eye on the prize, my friend, it can and will get better!
And to the rest of my readers, have you ever felt like Kate feels? What sort of advice would you offer to a friend in her situation? Let me know in the comments.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” ~Oprah Winfrey
When you’re feeling down, unloved, unworthy, unhappy–all you’ve got to do is look around you and find things for which to be grateful, and you’ll feel an almost immediate shift in your energy. This will lead to an improved perception, which inevitably leads to more good things in your life.
If you ever get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, you know how out of touch you can get with the things that really matter. You might feel like there’s no hope, nothing that could possibly make it “better”–and you might find yourself wondering if you have anything good in your life.
But no matter how bad it gets, you’ve got something to be grateful for–no matter who you are. After all, you woke up this morning–there’s one in the ‘win’ column, right there.
Everyone’s got his or her own unique list of things that bring simple pleasure, feelings of pure joy, or just a sense of comfort each day.
You can be grateful for physical blessings like where you live, the climate you reside in, or even your residence. You might be thankful about certain people being in your life. This may include your kids, your grandma or your best friend.
The most important function of thankfulness is that it allows you to open your heart, mind and soul to goodness, gratitude and light.
So, that all sounds great, but you have no idea where to begin cultivating gratitude? Try these tips.
Take five. Allow yourself five minutes each morning to experience thankfulness. Take these moments to simply think about the past day. Say to yourself, “One thing I’m thankful for is___.” Fill in the blank with something you noticed from the last 24 hours. Think on it for a minute or so. Smile about it. Then go on with your morning.
Appreciate your world openly. Share your gratitude with others. For example, if you’re chatting on the phone with a friend, you could say something like, “I am so glad that I painted the living room that beautiful light teal color. The sunlight reflects on it so nicely.”
Another example is, “I went shopping with my sister yesterday and she was so helpful when I wanted to pick out a new dress.” When your verbal acknowledgements to others demonstrate the gratitude you feel, you’ll develop a habit of recognizing what you’re thankful for.
Notice the small stuff. Promise yourself you won’t take little things for granted. Because life becomes crowded with people, tasks, and objects, you may feel challenged to notice small bits of wonder in your day. But if you put your mind to it, you’ll be astounded at what you see.
Open your eyes to the wonders all around you. They won’t cost a dime. A sunset, a warm cup of tea, or an ice-cold glass of water when you get home from work can be great reasons to feel gratitude. The smell of honeysuckle as you walk by the vine or your daughter’s impish smiles are still more things that might remind you of your blessings.
Learn to turn your thoughts around. When you discover you’re thinking negative thoughts, imagine a big stop sign and say, “Stop” out loud. Then, replace the stop sign with an image of something around you that you’re grateful for right at that moment. Think about that object, experience, person, or situation and bask in your positive experience.
Keep a gratitude journal. If you find you’re having difficulty remembering to notice the things that stir your inner thankfulness, perhaps starting a gratitude journal would help. A journal is a tangible visual aid that will trigger you to think about what you’re grateful for. Try just putting put the date on the page and jotting down what you’re grateful for at that time. You can write as much or as little as you wish. Place your journal in a spot where you’ll see it frequently, like on the dining room table, the kitchen counter, or near your favorite chair. This way, you’ll be prompted to experience your gratitude more often.
Each time you consciously decide to experience your thankfulness, you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Open your eyes and mind to the people, places, things, and experiences you’re grateful for. You’ll feel so much better about your life–and feeling better is the first step to truly being better.
What are you grateful for today? Share your gratitude and your thoughts with me in the comments section, below!