Some of the things I am grateful for may surprise you.
For example, I am grateful that my tenants accidentally set my house on fire a year ago. Sound crazy? Perhaps. Yet no one was hurt, and the insurance money gave me a chance to redo everything — new kitchen, bathroom, master bedroom.
My renovated home is beautiful.
I am grateful that my ex-boyfriend took his ex-wife back, although it hurt at the time and obviously ended our relationship, because it opened up space in my life for someone new.
I am grateful that I was turned down for the mayoral fellowship I applied for in Baltimore, MD after graduate school, because it meant that I went to work for the mayor of San Francisco instead — and the move there changed my life for the better forever.
It is not always easy to be grateful when something is going wrong. Yet shifting our perspective can change everything.
In Maya Angelou’s book, Letter to My Daughter, she describes a time in her life when she was in despair. She went to see her mentor, and told him she was going crazy.
“Here is a yellow pad and here is a ballpoint pen,” he said. “I want you to write down your blessings.” “I don’t want to talk about that,” Maya said. “I’m telling you I’m going crazy.” He insisted. “Think of the millions of people all over the world who cannot hear a choir or a symphony or their own babies crying,” he said. “Write down I can hear, thank God.”
“Write down that you can see this yellow pad and think of all of millions of people around the world who cannot see a waterfall or a flower blooming or their lover’s face. Write down I can see, thank God.” As she reached the last line of that yellow notepad, she said, “the madness was routed.”
Today Maya Angelou writes all of her books and poems on yellow notepads. “As I approach the clean page I think of how blessed I am.”
Being Grateful Is Good For Your Health
Maya Angelou’s mentor was onto something. Science has actually shown that “practicing gratitude” is good for you!
According to a study by Dr. Robert Emmons, those who kept gratitude journals:
- exercised more regularly,
- reported fewer physical symptoms,
- felt better about their lives as a whole,
- and were more optimistic about the upcoming week
Than those who recorded “hassles or neutral life events.” They were also more likely to make progress on their personal and professional goals. So being grateful — and acknowledging and recording this — is actually good for your health, and your success!
- Keep a gratitude journal.
If you like, try an online forum like this one: www.gratitudelog.com
- When you wake up in the morning, before you start your day, take a few minutes to give thanks for being alive, and to count your blessings.
(It beats complaining!)
- Look for the “improbable gifts” —-
things that didn’t go your way but taught you lessons or created new possibilities in your life.
I am grateful for so much — for 8 Women Dream, for the chance to pursue my dreams, for the people in my life, for my good health, my home, for all the adventures. And yes, for those times went things seemingly went wildly wrong, and yet somehow turned out for the best.
What are you grateful for?
Maya Angelou introduces Letter to My Daughter —
Lisa Graham is an inspirational writer, life coach, motivational speaker, and globe-trotter whose passion is to help others to find happiness and meaning their daily lives. A political activist at heart, Lisa would like to empower more women to run for political office as a way to create positive change in the world. You can find her on the Madam President Project.