Gratitude, self love and the new year

January 7, 2018 | By | 2 Replies More

gratitude self love

I’m grateful for this garden that grows food and joy!

The temperatures are even colder in Philadelphia right now than in Alaska! Being cooped up inside this first week of 2018 has been perfect for my typical new year reflection and goal setting.

Mr. President and I are big on thinking about things like ideas, dreams, plans – both personal and professional – and strategies for achieving them. We each periodically devote significant chunks of time, sometimes even a whole day, to this exercise. Most often, we each do this alone, but sometimes we talk about our ideas and goals together. For this new year, I devoted an entire Friday afternoon to thinking about how to make 2018 a good year.

My typical exercise starts with listing everything for which I’m grateful. Haven’t we all read in a self-help book that gratitude is everything? It seems that gratitude has become a contest, just like everything else. Who’s the most grateful for all their “blessings,” and who can talk about how grateful they are the most?

Gratitude as a starting point for self improvement

As cynical as I am about self-help faux positive thinking bullshit, I know genuine gratitude is one of the necessary tenets of good living. So, this year, rather than just my usual gratitude list, I took it further. At a time when so many of us are focused on our perceived shortcomings when we create the year’s list of resolutions, many of which are carried over from the year before, I made this a time of unapologetic self love. Rather than beat myself up over things I did not do in 2017, I celebrated all that I am and I wrote it all down.

vegetable curry

I’m grateful for good, nourishing food

It’s easy to express gratitude for your family, your health and the roof over your head, but when was the last time you were shamelessly thankful for the things that make you you? What about gratitude for the decisions you’ve made that have brought you the life you want?

I’m grateful for…

I won’t subject you to every detail of my self-indulgent love fest from that recent afternoon, but I will share a few things I listed on my reimagined gratitude list for the sake of inspiring you to start your own.

  • I’m grateful for my love of learning. My interest in learning how to do new things or just know about new things keeps me from being bored. It has opened my world in unimaginable ways.
  • I’m grateful for my brain. It’s gotten me far in life.
  • I’m grateful I stood firm on my desire to live a child-free life. For those of you who would list your children up top on your own gratitude list, please do not take offense. For me, the life I have is the one I want, and it would not have been possible with little ones.
  • I’m grateful I’m not into having a new and/or fancy car all the time. This attribute has saved me tons of money.
  • I’m grateful I am comfortable being alone. I have never in my life waited for someone to do something with or go somewhere with. I love sharing experiences with Mr. President, but if he doesn’t want to do something I’m interested in, I don’t wait. I just go by myself.
  • I’m grateful that I’ve put in the time to learn how to grow, cook and source the best food. This has this improved our health and helped us be mindful about food and its impact on the earth.

Now, it’s your turn. What things do you love about yourself? Maybe you have perfect hair or the best sense of humor of anyone you know. Maybe you’re an eternal optimist and that’s made a difference in your life. Can you eat anything you want and never gain an ounce? Are you grateful you didn’t marry someone who wanted to marry you?

Authentic goals are gifts you give yourself

goal setting

What will your next chapter be?

When you approach goals and resolutions from a place of self judgement, you run the the risk of not being authentic. Do you really want to lose weight (again) or are you beating yourself up because society says your body isn’t good enough as it is? Do you really want to start dating again, or are you fearful of ending up alone and being judged by others?

Seeing all those good things about yourself written down on a long list is a much better place to start when making resolutions than focusing on your shortcomings. Loving yourself means knowing you are worth the effort to improve even more. Your goals will be things you truly want. You’ll be more likely to go after them with the passion and drive you need to reach them. Goals won’t be goals…they’ll be gifts you give yourself.

Now, go have a sincere love fest and list everything about yourself you are grateful for. Dig deep, don’t leave anything unsaid. Happy 2018!

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Category: General, Stories

Comments (2)

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  1. Melanie says:

    Such sage advice! Thank you so much for sharing. For me, this process of integrating based on integrity is so crucial. I heard Dr. Christiane Northrup (Author of Our Bodies, Our Selves) speak yesterday. The biggest takeaway for me was when she said “We co-create each other’s biologies”. Somehow we subconsciously sense norms and behaviors of those around us. If we shift our well-being it affects others. Some relationships thrive, others fall away. Integrity is the key to deciphering what is on my plate vs another. Apparently kitcheri is on my plate, as she recommended that as one way to move my sluggish lymph LOL.

    • Brande says:

      Cheers to shifting all of our own well-being – imagine the impact on the world! Thank you for sharing what you learned and of course, my friend, I wish you the very best year.

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