A few years ago, one of my friends mentioned how her boyfriend and her would tell each other 3 things they were grateful for before they’d go to sleep. I thought that was a beautiful thing and so I pitched the idea to my then girlfriend and we had started doing it too. After we broke up, I decided to continue doing it by myself. I had one of those whiteboards and wrote on those post it notes and stuck ’em on there. It lasted for about 2 years but it’s something I keep telling myself to start doing again.
Funny story, I remember when I had started seeing this new girl, we were in my bedroom and she looked at the whiteboard and she said, “see that’s what I really like about you. So… why don’t you tell me the 3 things you’re grateful for today?” And I can’t remember my 3 exact answers but I do remember saying, “…and coat hangers.” Her response and reaction suggested she had second thoughts and that I was probably some kind of weirdo. So, I explained to her why I was grateful for coat hangers that day and that I’d been doing this for quite some time that now the simplest and oddest things would come to mind. Obviously when I had first started, my list would consist of family and friends and such. But I had made a rule that I would try to come up with a new list everyday.
I look back on it now and I see how the practice of gratitude changed my way of thinking, and my attitude. See, at first I had to think about what I was grateful for, and it would take me some time. And so after a while, I decided I’d start to look for these “three things” throughout the day, and that eventually lead me to see how everything and everyone around me had a purpose. It was incredible. I was able to see the immense beauty the universe had to offer. My heart was filled with so much gratitude, I started to enjoy the mundane lifestyle so much to the point it felt hedonistic.
It also taught me not to be attached to material possessions; anything that no longer was an essential or served a purpose for me. And eventually my bedroom that I filled with so much unnecessary bullshit, I was able to part ways with. This was something that I struggled with in the past. “But I worked so hard for you.” I’d say to myself whilst staring at an object that I hadn’t tinkered with for 2 and a half years. I felt like all this crap were the only things I had to show for my hard work. But I detached myself from them anyway and then I realised it didn’t really matter.
I also started to see the fine line between people who genuinely care about you and enjoy you vs the people who like you for things such as your social status, your annual income, the car you drive and the clothes you wear. Be grateful for genuine friendships but be careful when it comes to the latter.
Mmm. Gratitude. Isn’t it wonderful? But not so much the pile of clothes currently on my bed. And you wonder why I’m grateful for coat hangers… 🙂