It’s been a difficult week for me. Some sad events unfolded and a few major challenges popped up. I recognized early on that I was swimming through stressful waters. While I was driving, I caught myself reciting a mental list of all my unfortunate circumstances.
“What are you doing?” I asked myself. I was indulging in a pity party! And why? Because I wanted to justify being miserable. I decided that was pretty stupid. So a lot of things were less than ideal right now. That didn’t mean I was living in an absolutely cheerless world. At the moment, I was in a comfortable car driving on a country road lined with beautiful autumn oaks whose leathery leaves were glistening in the morning sunlight. I had a choice. I could indulge in wretchedness or relax and enjoy the beauty.
I decided to be gracious to myself and to trade my list of woes for gratitude for the moment’s goodness.
I like the word “gracious.” It’s expansive. It hints of benevolence and luxurious ease. It invites you to sink into the moment and to welcome its gifts. And never doubt that every moment has its gifts. Even when tragedy strikes, goodness is present.
One of the most beneficial positivity exercises you can practice is to look for those gifts, to look for the goodness that the moment holds. And when you find them, be gracious to yourself and let yourself appreciate them, let your heart open to gratitude. There’s always a reason to give thanks.
Now that the holiday season is upon us with all of its stress and expectations, let me encourage you to adopt graciousness as your guiding light. Stuff some in your pocket in the morning and carry it with you everywhere you go. Let it remind you to be generous of heart, to see the breadth and depth of each moment and all the goodness it holds. Let it remind you that you can trade your mental list of cares for the softness of appreciation, for the openness of acceptance and thanks.