What exactly is gratitude?
Oxford’s dictionary says, “Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
When I see “readiness to show appreciation” my immediate response is to question, “Do I have that quality?” For many years when receiving compliments, I found it very difficult to reply “thank you”.
Was I thankless? No. I was thankful. I just felt unworthy of such a compliment. I would hesitantly say thank you, with an addition of some excuse to lessen my worth to receive it. I was very much in a negative place where my self-esteem was very low and my outlook matched.
It has been a battle to rise above this mindset and I work daily to change it. I can honestly say there are still times when that ‘stinking thinking’ creeps in. There are definitely things I still need to work on. It is a process not perfection.
In a Life Writing Workshop I have been taking, I had an exercise to list two or three things I was thankful for and write about them. I am to do this every week.
I sat and thought for a bit. My mind seemed to freeze. I left the assignment for a few days and pondered my reaction.
In coming across a quote by Dr Robert Holden, I began to understand how valuable of an exercise this was. It said, “The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see.”
Like a light going on, I understood. I knew gratitude was something I definitely needed to practice. A shift in perception would help my life immensely. A positive change much needed for my mind.
So let me begin this miracle…
One of the things I am so thankful for in my life is the workshops at
CNWRC Central Nova Women’s Resource Centre.
After going through a depression in the fall of 2012, I had taken every course Mental Health had to offer and still found myself lacking; I knew I needed more help.
Not knowing which way to turn, a friend suggested a Self Esteem class at the Central Nova Woman’s Resource Center.
In January 2013, I walked through the doors at Central Nova and I have continued in taking their programs to the present day.
Each one has contributed to my wellness, and growth to be the woman I truly am and have always been.
I am so very thankful for free access to these resources and to have met the caring hearts who make the center possible.
Another thing I am thankful for is the death of my husband Curtis.
Now you might think that appalling but let me explain.
Watching my husband die was excruciating. I had nightmares for months afterwards from watching his body break down before my eyes. Looking back on those nine short months as his body deteriorated, I saw him fight for life, even to his dying breath. His death has left its mark upon me. His death has taught me so much.
Somehow when faced with mortality, I began to appreciate the here and now.
What happened in the past became unimportant. The future insignificant, for what ever was going to happen would happen. The present became what was important, especially time with who I loved.
I have to say those 9 months were the best. Through everything I barreled through. Focusing on what mattered.
I faced fear, heartbreak, poverty, pain and I rose above it all.
I loved. I laughed. I cried. I enjoyed. I learned. I lived.
My husband left a legacy I will never forget.
He taught me how to live, be healthy and never give up.
I am thankful for my husband’s death.
As the quote had said, “The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see”.