Often it’s not until a traumatic change takes place in our lives that we really value the normality of our everyday lives… It’s all linked to perspective.
Three months ago I wrote the above words in my first blog post on perspective.
How true those words were in the season ahead. For about 12 weeks our family’s normality was snatched from us and we lived out a new normality that involved coping with injury, illness and a massive change in our day to day lives.
It’s now 3 months since I sustained a brain & spinal fluid injury and at last I feel pretty much normal. I finally feel like I am getting my life back. I still get a bit more tired than I would have done pre-injury and experience some other milder symptoms if I do too much, but I can finally begin to move on in my life and put the injury behind me.
‘Normality’ never felt so good!!
To be able to function pretty well in everyday life feels like such a blessing. I am so thankful for health, energy, family & friendship. Before my injury I could at times take these things for granted but through my injury I have suddenly become so much more thankful for them.
The last three months adjusted my perspective.
Sometimes it’s not until your normality is taken away that you really do appreciate it.
This week my husband was away with work and the kids were on school holidays. I was so thankful to be able to look after the kids properly and get on with life with Matt not being here – something I could not do for 12 weeks. I have also been able to get the calendar out and make plans for the future. It feels great!
It’s made me think a lot about thankfulness and how it is so often linked to our perspective.
If we take things and people for granted – we will no longer feel grateful for them.
If we dwell on the negatives of our lives – we will no longer see and be thankful all the positives.
If we feel entitled to something or someone’s attention – we will see it as a right rather than a blessing.
Thankfulness can be life changing for BOTH those who give and those who receive it. This is because when it is heartfelt it comes from a place of humility. To say thank you and truly mean it is a small act of generosity and appreciation and – although small – can be powerful.
But if gratitude is so important why is it sometimes so difficult to maintain?
I often see within myself and those around me how quickly we can slip into an ungrateful perspective. It can happen subtly at first, but often gains momentum, as we compare our lives and situation to others. When we measure our lives against our perception of others’ lives (which are often incorrect anyway). The results are jealousy and envy which are often the culprits behind our dissatisfaction.
If only……. I had a better:
Spouse, partner, family, house, job, looks, body, car.
If only…… I had more:
Money, holidays, rest, friends, food, things.
Then I would be happy. Then I could feel thankful.
It’s a vicious circle. It never ends!
The dissatisfaction takes over, it eats away at our hearts. It blinds us til we no longer see what we do have, instead focusing our thoughts & even words on all we don’t.
Comparison is the thief of joy – Theodore Roosevelt
This dissatisfaction is often fueled by media, advertising, social media and looking at others lives around us. We are sold the lie that we will be happier if only we have more than we do now.
When we can only see what we don’t have we will not be thankful for what we do have. We will also not be able to feel thankful for what others have when we consider them to have more than us.
Instead we become consumed with envy and it destroys us from the inside out.
I believe that thankfulness is one of the main keys to happiness. There is so much joy to be found in a grateful heart.
Maybe we need to see our lives with more grateful eyes.
We don’t need to wait until we lose something to embrace a more thankful perspective. We can choose to see things differently now.
The last three months opened my eyes and helped me to develop a more thankful heart towards everyday life and those around me.
I am very mindful of the fact that it is so easy for me to fall back into old habits and old ways of thinking as time goes on. How easy it is to forget lessons learned in the past. So I hope through writing this and my other blogs about what I have learned over the past three months, that I will be able to remind myself about remaining thankful.
For each breath that I take.
For the wonder and opportunity of each day.
For friends, family and community.
For health and energy.
For the beauty of the world around me.
For our beautiful home and food on the table.
For provision in so many ways.
For everyday life and even the ‘mundane’ aspects of it.
(When you can’t have this you crave it. When you do have it you often crave something more exciting).
And on those days when I start feeling fed up or sorry for myself: because the kids are playing up, the house is in a mess, I look dreadful, I have too much to do, things are breaking and I can only seem to see what I don’t have & can’t afford. I hope that I will quickly choose to remember, to shift my perspective back to a more grateful perspective and remember when getting through each day was all I could focus on. When health and normality were longed for and yet seemed so far away. When I just hoped to soon be well enough to able to get out of bed and walk outside on my own, so that I could fulfill some of the simple things in life like get the kids to and from school, get the dinner ready for my family and keep the house tidy.
We have so much. Look around you and see with new eyes all the blessings in your life.
A simple thought or act of gratitude will bring you so much happiness.
We can develop a habit of waking up each day and thinking about things we are thankful for. You may well find that your day starts better when it begins with gratitude.
My injury and illness only lasted three months. Some people face bigger storms: a much more challenging health diagnosis, the death of a close family member, a marriage break down or they lose their job and can’t find another.
So many different storms can shake our normality, but thankfulness always remains one of the best keys to finding the strength we need to push forward with a positive perspective.
There is always something to be thankful for.
It’s all about perspective.
Try it! What can you be thankful for today? Who can you say thank you to?
Give thanks in all circumstances. – The Bible. (1Thessalonians 5:18)