12 June 2013

The End (but not The End) of "Grateful"

Finally we come to it: the conclusion of The Grateful Project.
Some of you might be heaving a sigh of relief ("at last! This endless Gratitude was getting a bit boring...").
I know for myself my feet (fingers?) have dragged a bit towards the end.

Not for lack of gratitude, though. Just because doing something EVERY DAY is really really hard for me. I am not a maintainer, consistency seems forever beyond me. (You know this about me, right?)
This was the purpose of committing to a full two weeks On The Blog.
By going public, I hoped to follow through. And I pretty much have, so Yay Me.

But this wasn't just about sticking to something or being consistent for once.
This Project was about trying to integrate Gratefulness into my life, so that positivity and thanks became a knee-jerk reaction. A first-port-of-call in the morning.

For one who has battled anxiety and depression for many years, gratitude becomes a mighty weapon in my arsenal, a powerful way to combat hopelessness and helplessness.
It's not about being Pollyanna-ish and wearing rose-tinted glasses or being in denial about reality and the battles we face in everyday life and parenting.
No. Gratitude becomes a ladder of appreciation with which to climb out of any pit I might find myself in.

I discovered less than a week into the project, that even on days when everything seems to be going against me, when I would usually begin the slide into despair, gratitude can become an anchor against the slide.
By stopping myself, sitting down with a pen and paper, and consciously listing things I have to be thankful for, I can stop the downward spiral in its tracks.

Other mornings, when I found myself waking up already on the backfoot, in a hole (from broken sleep, a late night, a headache, a sink full of dirty dishes) I could climb up out of it using my gratitude ladder.

I also discovered so much to be thankful for.
I began to see my life and my world through the clear eyes of appreciation.
Even on the bad days, when the kids were grumbling and you were tripping over mess everywhere, there was ALWAYS a whole list of good things if I made the time to sit and think about it.

I gained a new appreciation for my husband, my community, my home, my body.
These were things I have always had with my but haven't always appreciated.
Taking things for granted is a sure way to end up miserable.
Thinking I will only be happy if I win the Lotto/live in a mansion/look like a model is a recipe for gloom.

Since I am not the most consistent of women, and grow rapidly bored with repetition, I have discovered that if I keep things varied, I will stay interested. I might not write in my little book every day; sometimes I might tweet my thanks, or Instagram it. Other days I use The Gratitude Journal app, or simply sit down and blog it here.

This works for me. Keep it varied, stay interested.
I now have a chalkboard on my windowsill which asks me the question: "What am I grateful for today?" (just in case I forget to ask myself upon waking).

At mealtimes (inspired by the amazing Meg) we have started going round the table and sharing something we are grateful for. Every person, from biggest to smallest.
It's a lovely way to finish a meal, sharing gratitude.
The kids are taking to it well. We are determined to keep doing this every day.
Focusing on what we have to be grateful for EVERY DAY helps us stay positive, and not take our blessings for granted.

All this I have learned from doing The Grateful Project.

Regular (random) blogging will now resume on my blog. But I will still work at being Grateful every day, in many and varied ways. And to keep me on track, I've decided to make Mondays my Grateful Posting day, here. A round up of blessings and things I'm thankful for. Every Monday.

If you want to join me, let me know. (Maybe I can do a Grateful linky?)

Thanks for following along with The Grateful Project and bearing with me as I went down this road. I'm the better for it.


If you want to join in with The Grateful Project, grab a notebook and pen and just start writing down something every morning that you are grateful for. To connect with others who are doing it you can use #thegratefulproject on Twitter and Instagram, or leave me a comment here on my blog. I've also started a Grateful Project Board on Pinterest and will open up a linky on Monday morning for any blog posts. See you on Monday for the new regular Grateful Project timeslot!

The Grateful Project

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