I assign my therapy patients homework assignments. It’s one of the few ways I can measure what my patients are gaining or have gained from the therapy process. One of those assignments is to write a “gratitude journal.” Many patients look blankly at me and ask aloud, “You really want me to write a gratitude journal?”
If we ask others if they are thankful for things which have happened in their life, it is easy to respond with a simple “Yes.” Our hope is a follow up question such as “What are you thankful for” will never be asked. It is easy to list those few obvious things; those items which won’t turn heads and which appear obvious to us and to others, those things which we believe will not spark further conversation; which will not challenge us and our belief system, but real gratitude necessitates true introspection; true honesty with ourselves and with others. If we are not willing to be honest with ourselves for those things for which we are thankful, then what else in our life are we willing to be honest about?
Another complaint from my patients asks, “Is it OK to be thankful for the same or similar things many different times?” The answer, “Absolutely!”
Since today was a day off from running, my second best place to think is in the shower. This is a place where my sins can be washed away with the sweat and dirt and I ready myself for a new day; a clean slate.
I ran the last two days and carried along with the euphoria of the completed run a measure of discomfort. This discomfort has manifested itself in what I call a “beautiful soreness.” There is beauty in this if one chooses to see it. This soreness reminds me of my coming age and it also reminds me that I am human; that I have pushed myself to new limits to achieve the goals which I have set for myself. It is this insight, my willingness to listen to what my body is saying and the ability to push through the discomfort to continue to grow for which I am thankful today.
I know this is a gift and today I accept this gift as a part of life. This gift has always been present. It is one gift for which which I simply never wished to listen.
Think about those things for which you are thankful. Identify those gifts which you have received and understand their importance in your life for this is what allows personal growth.