Gratitude and Grateful Living Part 2! Late joining this series? Catch up on Part 1!
It can be so easy to forget and dwell on what we lack, or what we wish we didn’t have to deal with but I had the evidence right there in front of me; the beauty of my life recorded indelibly. It was pretty incredible and extremely joyful. To see page after page of wonderful moments from my recent past is lovely and I highly recommend it.
After this perspective shift, an absolute flurry of important lessons started to come to me; each and every one of them bringing me more and more gratitude for this unexpected turn in my life:
- We can do difficult things and we are stronger than we think.
- It is so important to cultivate a trust in your intuition and listen to it. To develop confidence in yourself and the fact that you know what’s best for you.
- Never simply let things happen to you. Take an active role in your health; there is always something you can do to improve your circumstances and this helps deter the feelings of helplessness when they come knocking.
- True emotional, mental and spiritual growth in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, is possible and can completely shift your perspective and your life in the best ways.
- It is incredibly important to a person’s healing to learn what true kindness to oneself looks like; including how vital it is to have an awareness of your needs and to tend to those needs first.
- Practicing gratitude for all you have, especially the small stuff, can completely change your perspective and your life.
Looking for these positives, seeking them out and being so grateful to find them, has brought an incredible amount of meaning to my diagnosis. I have grown and changed and developed in ways that I never would have before; bringing my awareness to the pockets of light in the darkness. Those things that I can be grateful for because of, and in spite of cancer, has helped me navigate the fear, anxiety and stress that comes with a diagnosis; way more successfully than I would have been able to otherwise. It has saved my mental and emotional health; of that, I have absolutely no doubt. Though it’s easier sometimes to dwell in the darkness, to give in to the monsters in our head and what they tell us. So, as difficult as it can be and as much as we may try to resist it in the moment, choose to focus on light, positivity and gratitude. It will make all the difference.
The great thing is, the more you practice gratitude and gratefulness; the easier it gets. It starts spreading to every area of your life not just, “I am grateful I beat cancer and am here to see ______;” although that is a great one. For example, my partner was working nights this week, which never happens. and it was an unexpected and most unwelcome surprise. I work during the day, so we had a little bit of time together in the morning before I left for work and then about two hours in the evening after I got home before he left. It sucked! Quite unexpectedly and without really thinking about it, mid-week we were talking and started listing the positive things about the week. We were enjoying being able to spend time in the morning together and “sleeping in,” (usually he would be getting up at 6 am instead of getting home and to bed at that time), and he was able to drop me off and pick me up at work a few times; which was really nice.
The experience brought our awareness to the time we did have together and helped us feel grateful for the moments we had each day in spite of his crazy schedule. Our conversation helped us appreciate that at least we still got to see each other every day and we were able to acknowledge how lucky we are that we normally get to see each other so much more. Gratitude has a ripple effect; the more you do it, the more you create it, the more effortless it becomes.
This practice of gratitude has led to an increase in my feelings of self-worth and satisfaction with my life.
Many of the lessons I have learned, have pushed me to leave my comfort zone, to pursue my passions and to live the life I was put on this planet to live. Gratitude has brought more meaning and positivity to my diagnosis than anything else has and that in and of itself is something I am indescribably grateful for. It has allowed me to heal mentally and emotionally in ways I didn’t realize I needed to; and has contributed significantly to my physical well-being.
In short, beginning a practice of gratitude was one of the biggest things that got me through the post-treatment fear. Feeling grateful for this life of mine and whoever decided to put me in it, has truly changed it. I have been able to reach a point where I value my experience with cancer. It shaped me into the person I feel I was put on this earth to be. It gave me the perspective that motivates me every day to go after my dreams and make a positive difference in the world. Feeling gratitude towards my cancer experience has helped reduce some of the fear and anxiety over the future of my health.
There is no way to know what the next bend in the path will bring, but I can know with certainty that whatever it is, I am meant for it. It is bound to teach me something new; and I will be grateful for whatever that learning is.