I’m so glad to have this opportunity to speak about gratitude here today because I’ve been conducting a little exercise lately, and I would very much like to share the results with you.
See, I’m a bit of a Human Eeyore. I have a tendency to see the worst case scenarios. I don’t consider this pessimism—instead it feels more like realism to me. In fact, that’s part of why I like writing romances. I believe in happy endings, even though I think few of us get them. Not only does writing make my day a bit brighter, but if a single story makes it easier for someone to get through a bad day, then I feel like I’ve done my job as a writer. That’s what I call success.
You know that scene in Jupiter Rising? The one where the main character wakes up each morning and recites, “I hate my life.” Yeah, that could be me. I’ve been struggling with depression, job burnout, and caregiver burnout for a while now.
Recently I became inspired by several people I follow who have been posting daily about the things they are grateful for in their lives. This prompted me to attempt to do the same, though to be honest, I found it easier some days than others. Still, I was determined to give it my best shot. Every day for an entire year, I would post three things I was grateful for or three things that made me smile.
I haven’t managed to do it every single day, but I’ve been doing it for nearly two months now, and I’m starting to see some changes in my life. First of all, it is seldom the Big Things that make me feel a sense of gratitude. Big Things don’t come into our lives every day. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference in our lives. Taming the feral cat hanging around the house. Getting mentioned on a “Best of 2015” list. Having someone leave an awesome review for one of my stories. A great hug from the person you love most. Getting a surprise gift in the mail. Hearing from a friend that I’d lost touch with. Rain on the roof at night. The ghostly vision of a full moon just after dawn. The intensity of the constellations in a winter’s sky.
I found myself waking, not with the thought of how much I hated my life, but wondering what three things I was going to find to post about that day. Even if the morning started off rocky, I’d remind myself I still had to come up with three things—and that very thought changed my entire attitude toward the day. Little by little, my first thoughts turned to what would I find to make me smile that day, and let me tell you, that’s a powerful thing.
I’ve never been a big fan of ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ because if I don’t believe something, I can’t fake my way into it. But this exercise has taught me that the mindset of gratitude is contagious—and the more you immerse yourself in it, the easier it becomes to see the good things that you have in your life. And when you see your life as one of plenty instead of one of wanting, then good things seem to find their way into your life. Sounds like voodoo, I know, but I challenge you to give it a try. If you can’t commit to an entire year, at least 30 days. Spend 30 days finding just three things each day that make you smile. You’ll be glad you did.
What’s making me smile today is the re-release of a book that is dear to my heart: The Boys of Summer is available from Dreamspinner Press today! I hope you’ll check it out. Tell me three things YOU’RE grateful for and leave your email in the comments, and I’ll choose a winner at random to receive an e-copy of The Boys of Summer.
Sarah Madison is a writer with a big dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. She is a terrible cook, and concedes that her life would be easier if Purina made People Chow. She writes because it is cheaper than therapy.
Sarah Madison was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards and is the winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards for The Boys of Summer. The Sixth Sense series was awarded 2nd place for Best M/M Mystery Series in the 2014 PRG’s Reviewer’s Choice Awards.
I am grateful for many thing, including my loving family, The UCONN women's basketball team and still being here.ReplyDelete
debby236 at gmail dot com
A loving family is one of the greatest treasures anyone can have, Debby!Delete
I'm grateful that you're my friend, that life is hard but good, and my greenwing macaw is always helpful with my blog posts. ❤❤❤ReplyDelete
Aw, you are such a sweetie, Aisling!Delete
I am grateful for my supportive family, being born in a very interesting time and for the interwebs. hojuose(at)gmail(dot)comReplyDelete
We *are* lucky, Jenny, to live in such a marvelous time! And a supportive family is hard to beat. :-)Delete
I'll have to try the positive postings. Three things I'm grateful for. My children are healthy and leading great lives. I'm starting a new job and I have some awesome friends. Thanks for the post and the chance. May you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New YearReplyDelete
Denise, they've really changed my life. In fact, I got sick recently and lost track of posting, and found myself slipping back into old ways of thought. Yay for the new job and great friends!Delete
Í'm grateful for my family, and esepcially my husband and our children. i love that they can make me smile for just being who they are.
I'm also grateful for all the wonderful authors wo write beautiful story's that fill my ereader and make me forget the hustle of real life for a while.
Aw, what lovely things to be grateful for, Angela!Delete
i am grateful for our health, my family and my ability to stay home with my kidsReplyDelete
jmarinich33 at aol dot com
Those are lovely things, Jodi!Delete