A woman after my own heart! So happy to have her on my blog today. Please welcome Deb:
Almost three months ago I decided to explore gratitude and how a focus on the positive things in life might have an impact on my mood. I was hoping for a bit of satisfaction with my lot in life and less focus outward on what others were doing. I started writing about my journey each Friday on my blog and quickly began to write posts that expressed my own awe at what was happening to me.
While I had expected an internal shift of some sort, I had not anticipated all the changes that took place - and so rapidly.
My husband and I had been struggling with our marriage for years since my recovery from severe Post Natal Depression and anxiety. That two year period had done so much damage, and caused resentment from my husband, that I thought we were never going to find our way back together after trying for a year to consciously improve things. Within six weeks of this new focus I felt the first real thaw occur. My husband seemed more open to me, we were communicating better, there was less nagging and more ease. We are nowhere near our pre-PND days, but for the first time in six years I feel confident we will make it there.
I have been a stay at home mother for 8 1/2 years and have been struggling to find fulfilment since my youngest started full time school two years ago. I had noticed I was spending more money on little things here and there - shopping out of boredom and passing the time, even loading up my grocery trolley with whatever I fancied regardless of need. I noticed 3 weeks ago that I am more likely to put something back with ease now and calmly tell myself I did not need it nor really want it. I have noticed our bank balance growing.
I am embarrassed to admit that, as a type A personality, I struggled with road rage tendencies. I would yell and carry on while my kids sat in the back horrified by the language that I often let flow. This was not helping anyone and the person I was yelling at never even heard me. Adrenalin was coursing through my veins, my kids were hearing words I did not allow them to use and I felt awful. I did not hold out hope for ever stopping this bad habit that seemed to be escalating. Amazingly I am down to maybe one of two times a week now where I get cranky at "bad" drivers, but have noticed I am no longer spewing foul language nor being reprimanded by my 6 1/2 and 8 year old daughters who know better than their mother. A miracle indeed. What is happening is I let it go because I have accepted I cannot change those drivers, they cannot hear me and I am focused on being a better example for my kids. A focus on positivity brings about a desire for more of the same.
I am a born and raised New Yorker living with an English husband in Australian suburbia. We have chickens, an established garden and a veggie and herb garden. I have never planted a thing in my life, forget to water things when my husband is away and have been shocked when he mentions something wonderful blooming in our back garden. He could not understand how I did not notice the giant birds of paradise blooming or the fiery red flowers in that corner over there, etc. I truly would walk past things and never take notice - and I love flowers, but never connected to nature. I am not kidding when I say that I have done a 180 degree turnaround. It is now instinctual for me to literally stop and smell the flowers (Jasmine instead of roses at our house). Walking to school with my girls I will point out someone's garden that has hydrangeas blooming. It seems to have all come alive for me in the last month or two. Clouds, sunshine, sunsets, breezes - all hit my senses in a new and unexpected way.
Lastly, I started my blog four months ago and found it caused a major setback in my mental health. Suddenly I felt depressed and insecure. I was comparing myself to others all the time - why did she get so many comments when I had a great post with nothing? How come no one retweets MY posts? Is anyone listening? Does anyone like me? Day after day I was spiralling in the wrong direction. That was when I made the decision to try the gratitude practice. It worked. I was able to accept when four people unliked my facebook page and focus on the twelve that liked it that day. I focused on the one person who emailed me telling me my post prompted them to get help for PND or how my ideas changed how they were thinking about something. I focused on the bloggers that I was connecting with and genuinely wanted to interact with rather than the ones I "should" be interested in. I started walking my own walk and following my own path - and I felt at peace. Once I made this connection everything started to fall into place for me. Now when I have a bad day and feel insecure over no one commenting I put it back on them - they were too busy to comment or it did not resonate with them that day - it did not mean I was less-than.
Gratitude allows me room to breathe - room to appreciate what is rather than what is not.
Gratitude has filled my heart and soul with whatever I needed to be at peace - or one step closer to peace.
Gratitude has allowed me to let go of my need to be right, perfect and in control of every moment in time.
Thanks so much Deb for sharing your journey with us. Today, Deb is launching a 52 week challenge to simplify your life! I recommend checking it out. You can also find her on twitter @findyoursimple or connect with her on facebook.
Do you have plans to be more grateful this year?