Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gratitude and Affection

Here we are over half way through January and I'm finally writing a post about New Year's Resolutions. This may give you the impression that I am late to the game, but in reality I just get very little quiet alone time to blog!

There have been years in the past where I had a very clear cut idea of what I wanted to focus on for the year. I remember one year I decided to make my resolution to floss my teeth every night. Here I am years later still flossing most nights and now I do it without even really thinking about it. That was a pretty easy resolution. Not only does it make complete sense to make my dental health a priority, but it's a pretty quick and easy task to incorporate into my daily life.

There have also been years where I have tackled more difficult resolutions. Last year I resolved to love myself more. This may look like an easy resolution on paper, but it is actually a really complex task that involves forgiveness, acceptance, and love....all things that I continue to improve on everyday.

This year was one where I didn't feel a really clear cut resolution coming to me. All through December and even early January I heard discussions and read blog posts of resolutions and yet I still had a blank mind about the topic.

Recently I have realized that my resolution this year has kind of evolved in and of itself. It is another complex resolution and yet I am finding that it has many easy daily steps that seem to be taking hold in the fiber of my being.

This year I am resolving to cultivated gratitude and affection in my life. I've know that the Law of Attraction is true for many years, but my ability to make it work for me has come and gone. This law, which says that 'like attracts like', is the reason why things only get worse for me the more I complain about them. It is also the reason why cultivating gratitude and affection makes complete sense.

There are many simple and small ways to develop an attitude of gratitude in your life. We now say a blessing before dinner to show our thanks for the food. I am also trying to give more unexpected hugs to show my thanks for companionship. And of course, I am still making sure to keep up with the simple pleasantries like saying 'thank you' or 'excuse me'. I have been focusing on these few specific small steps and have already noticed big changes.

As parents, we know that everyday we are setting examples that our children will consciously and subconsciously follow. I have decided to take this even further by including my children in my quest to focus on gratitude and affection this year.

Every night before bed I sit with my boys and we each take turns telling each other what our favorite part of the day was. This serves as a simple gratitude list for them and ensures that they go to sleep focused on the positive parts of the day instead of the negative. We also each take a turn speculating on what we are most looking forward to in the day to come. Sometimes the boys come up with things that I know will not be happening, but I don't correct them or try to change their imaginings because I know that dreaming is also part of the process. How could their dreams come true if they didn't have any after all?

So after doing this for a few weeks they are now in such a habit that they excitedly remind me each night that it is time to, "Say what we liked best today." Yesterday as we were playing Frisbee out in the front yard we heard the distant music of the ice cream truck. My husband and I both made eye contact and with a small nod I knew it was my cue to run inside for some change. The boys were obviously excited to get ice cream sandwiches in the middle of the day, as this is not a typical thing for us. As my husband and I sat in lawn chairs watching the sticky chins and smiling face my 6 year old turned to me and said, "You know what Mom? This is going to be my favorite thing of the day today."

That is when I realized that it was working. In his 6 year old way, my son was expressing his gratitude of this simple and yet special moment. What took me many many years to realize he is now internalizing and I couldn't be more proud.

I know that in this day and age it may seem like some of us have little to be grateful for, and yet this is when we need gratitude the most. I encourage everyone to focus on the small magic of this life that we were given and I can promise you that you will feel a difference if you do.

1 comment:

L.J. said...

Beautiful, Tara! I am excited for you and your family and love that you are seeing how quickly and easily our kids get this. I love that you've shared this with me.