I am not a therapist. Far from it as a matter of fact. My college degree is in Economics and my job when I am not blogging is in accounting and tax preparation. That said, 2020 has been one doozy of a year. A year of reflecting, reassessing relationships, and attempting to find daily joys in little things. We have been told to stay home and be cautious for over nine months now.
Southern California is even back in a stay at home mandate similar to the one the entire nation had to abide by back in March. To say I am struggling to remember my reasons for gratitude for the past year is an understatement. And that is the reason for this post. Upon reflection of figuring out ways to focus on an attitude of gratitude in my own life, I realized many of you would probably appreciate these simple reminders as well ❤️.
Tune Out All the Noise Around You
I know it is important to stay abreast of things going on around us in the world but sometimes it is healthier for our own minds to just tune it all out. Keep away from toxicity.
Find a place that will help you do this. It can be as simple as binge watching a tv show (if you are looking for suggestions on that – I’ve got your back!), listening to positive energy podcasts (I recently found The Gratitude Diaries and am looking forward to listening to it more!), or reading/listening to a good book – my next book club book is called Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell. If you read it too – make sure to DM me or comment to let me know!
Pay Attention to How You React
I recently read a passage in a book where the message was simply this: ebbs and flows in life are natural, it’s how we react to them that matters. Boy oh boy is that spot on for 2020 – don’t you think??? My dad once said to me, “hey Pash- maybe make more of an effort to pause for a few moments before you react to things that upset you.”
Reactionary responses can definitely work against you in almost every situation. As Deepak Chopra says “they prevent you from living in the now, renewing yourself, being open to new possibilities, and seeing something good in other people.” Don’t get me wrong- I still react poorly and impulsively often but I do try to take a breath and slow down my reaction more often than I used to 😉.
Embrace Your Mistakes, Struggles and Imperfections
I am going to assume I am not alone in having a lot of time this past year to get to know myself better than ever before 🤪. We are all prone to err on occasion and have personal imperfections that we likely need to work on. Acknowledging our shortcomings is one of the most integral pieces to self growth. Learning how to live with these imperfections is also helpful in recognizing the positive purposes of them.
Giving yourself grace for these imperfections and realizing it is what makes you unique is quite entwined with having an attitude of gratitude. 2020 has been the year of giving myself grace- how about you? Things will very likely not be as expected this holiday season- as the saying goes s*^t happens. Odds are – a lot about this season is out of most of our control – so let’s all just give ourselves and others grace this year…
Let’s make this end of the year about focusing on what we HAVE accomplished – even if it is small. We have all done something this year. Maybe all it was was survive and breathe… but it is something.
Accept Those Around You For Who They Are and Let Things Go
Part of having peace during holiday season is realizing you are not going to change the people around you. This pretty much goes along with giving each other grace and our reaction to those around us I guess – now doesn’t it? If you need to – set boundaries and limits. And if you need to head upstairs (or walk away from the Zoom call – #2020holiday) for a bit – than do so! This is certainly something I need to work on for myself 🤪. You would be hard pressed to find someone that really does have that picture perfect family home life – just know you are not alone with challenges!
If you are feeling disappointed with someone in your life, recognize that this is about your own expectations of them and them not being met. We all have lessons to learn about ourselves and others – it is part of the growing older privilige that many people aren’t lucky enough to get.
Anger, regret, envy, disappointment can all lead to toxic knee jerk reactions. I definitely struggle with many of these things – clearly I am a work in progress. But beating ourselves or others up over these traits isn’t helpful to anyone. All we can ask from ourselves and everyone in our lives is that we each are striving to be better versions of ourselves than we were the day before ❤️.
Holding on to grudges is especially toxic and detrimental to everyone’s mental health. 2020 has been such a crazy crazy year. I think this year more than ever – it’s in everyone’s best interests to give each other grace, let things go, and most certainly avoid the grudges.
Be Kind, Acknowledge People In Your Life, and Say Thank You
In the famous holiday song lyrics of Burl Ives “And when you’re walking down the street, say hello to friends you know, and everyone you meet.” I don’t know about you but I am really struggling to recognize friends on the streets now that all of us are wearing masks. The solution to this? Say Happy Holidays to EVERYONE YOU MEET!! If you happen to open the door when the UPS delivery person is there – make sure you smile and tell them thank you and happy holidays! It’s the easiest and cheapest way to show kindness this holiday season!
Remember What We Are Celebrating
I am just going to quote Charlie Brown Christmas because I think Linus summed it up pretty dang good:
And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” …that’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.
Celebrate Being Alive
If we end 2020 with just one lesson this year – it’s to be thankful for every single day we are healthy and alive. I lost a family member this year to cancer and I know so many of you have experienced losses as well this year. The one thing he said he wanted to be remembered for was his smile and his kindness. And he is.
Life gives no guarantees. No second go arounds. No order or set amount of time with our loved ones. No promises that we will have our health tomorrow. Make time for the people that matter most to you today. Even if it’s just a simple text saying hi. It matters.
I hope these simple reminders were helpful to all of you. I know I am going to make every effort to make these last three weeks of 2020 positive. I will reflect on the losses and frustrations that I have experienced this year and hopefully recognize their purpose for happening in my life. I really do believe everything happens for a reason. And most of the time it takes years to learn what the reasons are. Actually I am banking on figuring out these reasons in 2023 😂.
But for now – I am just going to work on my attitude of gratitude for this holiday season…