Not too long ago, I had a very special day begin to disastrously (or so it felt) deviate from my perfect plans. If you know me, I’m a planner. After 12 years of corporate planning and from stories my mom has told me from my youth, it’s something that can’t be learned out of me. As this perfect day, my birthday, began to perfectly fall apart at the seams, I called one of my best friends for help.
I called Heather because, in truth, I wanted her to save me from myself. I was fraught with disappointment even though I knew I had no control over what was upsetting me. Ever have those moments? Your rational mind totally understands the situation, but your little self is throwing a tantrum anyway? That was me.
As a good friend, she listened, extended her compassion and then gave me an assignment. She said, “After our call I want you to sit down and write three things that you’re grateful for.” Of course, I didn’t feel grateful for anything in that moment and she reminded me, “You have a ton to be grateful for, sit down, write it out and really define how grateful you are for these things.”
So, I did. Little did I know with that mini-assignment that she would do exactly as I hoped: save me from myself. As I wrote my list I cried ferociously. Not tears of sadness or frustration, but tears of gratitude. Tears that reminded me how absolutely f#cking grateful I am for this extraordinary life I’ve built in all of it’s unplanned imperfection. In a matter of moments, that short list not only alleviated my frustration, but also left me feeling happier than before the upset.
I leave this here with you today as a tool. Passing on my wise friend’s advice, when life hits you with the unpleasantly unexpected, sit down, write three things you’re grateful for and choose to move out of the shitty state of mind you’ve found yourself in. Because in truth, you always have a choice about your inner state and if you want to find happiness, you’ve got to find gratitude.