Gratitude….. one small, yet powerful word that literally means so much.
This will be a short post today, a short, but important one. I would like to suggest that you find any jar you have lying around and do as I have done. Label it your “Gratitude” jar and simply slowly fill it with wee bits of paper on which you write things that you are grateful/thankful for. It could be the view from your window, a person who smiled at you, a colleague making you laugh, your favourite meal, your lovely family. Even when we are at our lowest, if we are breathing we are very likely to have things that we are grateful for.
The gratitude jar idea has been around for a while and if you simply google “gratitude jar” (be prepared to lose an hour or two) you will find many beautiful jars that put mine to shame. I don’t add to mine every day, although I would like to start doing that. At first it felt a little silly, but soon I found that I could write many at a time, although I prefer to focus on one and really think about why I am grateful for that one thing.
Another thing I would like to point out is that I fully understand that there may be some days that you cannot think of anything to be grateful for, but believe me, these are the days when reading your gratitude’s can really help. I did that the other day and found that each one brought back some beautiful memories that instantly improved my mood. I have read that some people like to build them up over the year and read them on the 31st of December to celebrate all the great things that have happened that year. Physically writing down what we are grateful for can be a huge motivator and a great way to work on our mental health as we only include the positive parts of our life even when our minds are torturing us with the negatives.
I’m in pain from a long training run today, however, my latest gratitude reads “I am grateful for my legs, they allow me to run far”. Many people don’t run and some people couldn’t even if they wanted to. I am very, very grateful that I can. I am even grateful for the pain I feel today.
I am also very grateful to you, for reading this post…. thank you.
What are you grateful for today? Do you already use a gratitude jar? Do you plan to start one?
Firstly, Hello! Thank you for reading. I have been gone for a few years and suddenly got the urge to return to this blog. I am back 🙂
The road to recovery, I almost wrote the road back to recovery there, but changed it, because can we ever really go back? Do we want to? What are we going back to? Should we not keep moving forward? I used to think we had to “get over” things to recover, however, after having to really get over some things I am now of the mind that we don’t simply “get over” these things, we actually have to go through them. Is there any point in just “getting over” something? Would it not be better to wade on right through it? This way we can learn how to truly move on instead of just shrugging something off till it happens again. When we go through things we evolve. We change. We often can’t return to how, perhaps even who we were before.
Moving on from anything is tough. The ups and downs, the highs and lows are mountainous, it’s a lot to take on. It’s exciting, it’s terrifying, it’s freeing, it’s immensely stressful. Change is hard. Whether we choose it, or it’s forced upon us, it really can be very hard. We must adapt and I guess rediscover parts of ourselves that will help us keep moving.
Rediscovery is a great word, meaning “the action or process of discovering again something that was forgotten or ignored.” Isn’t that lovely? The word itself so positive and the meaning is just, well, beautiful. When I think of recovering, I think of illness, loss, grief, shame, mental anguish, guilt, all so negative. However, rediscovering? now that makes me think of hope, peace, energy, creativity, novelty, all so positive.
I am sure this view that I have is not novel itself, perhaps not so original. But for me, it’s really helping. It’s new to me. I did a marathon recently, my first ever and it was a trail marathon. I loved it. I know I could have trained harder, perhaps you always feel like that though. Still, I did it, and I loved it. I have now booked a 40 mile race. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Obviously I do already run. I like to run far, but this is far, far. The running equivalent to going out, out, if you will. This is a big deal for me, as my poor friends and co-workers would confirm. I will not shut up about this race. In nine weeks I shall run (attempt to run?) 40 miles of mixed terrain with a great deal of hills. Literal ups and downs, highs and lows. It’s exciting, it’s terrifying, it’s freeing, it’s immensely stressful. It’s moving me. It’s part of moving on. I’m not suggesting we all do something like this. The fear of the almighty DNF (Did Not Finish) is real and with me already. All. The. Time. However, it’s happening and I only have myself to blame and myself to answer to, which is quite refreshing in itself.
So, why the fuss over booking this race? I have been trying to figure out why it’s become such a big deal so quickly. Writing seems to be a good way to find out as my thoughts flow out through my finger tips. The word control keeps coming to my mind. What can we control in our lives? Really think about it? What do we have absolute control over?
Our relationships? No. Unless you are holding your partner hostage, in which case please stop reading as you are not my target audience! People change, they also change their minds and people do fall out of love. We get heartbroken. We also lose control in relationships, when we fall in love, but this is definitely not always a bad thing. We just simply cannot control the actions of others.
Our work lives? Not really. We could get fired. It could change out with our control. Even when you work for yourself. Our homes? Finances? Perhaps more so for some, but for most of us, nope. These are far too closely linked to those above.
So, what? What do we have absolute control over in our lives? I am currently suggesting nothing other than; what we do, how we respond, how hard we try.
Times get hard, don’t they? It can be difficult to stay afloat sometimes. I think having a goal can keep us up. What better way to keep us moving through the tough moments, days, weeks than having something so important to do? Is there any better feeling in the world than feeling truly inspired? That beautiful feeling you get when you have that fire in your belly, in your soul. I believe part of what makes that feeling so wonderful is that is it so personal. You really are just competing with yourself in life and indeed in any race. Find that thing that keeps you moving and hold on to it.
I will say it again though. Moving on is tough. Whatever we are moving on from, good on us for doing it. Honestly, if you are in the process of moving on from anything, give yourself a pat on the back. You have earned it. Regardless of how you well you feel you doing, you are doing it. It’s so easy to stay where we are, to create reasons not to take that leap, we all at certain points have stayed somewhere to keep things simple. It’s not always “better the devil you know”, you know? You took that leap. Well done. Please be kind to yourself. You deserve it. Keep moving.
I have more to say on this topic, and intend to expand on a few points I have made. However, I do hope this post can reach someone who is experiencing this now. If so, I’d love to hear your views in the comments below.
I am currently working on a few ideas for future posts. I have included some parts of each below and would love some feedback
Wild animal selfies
I personally think that we expect too much from animals. It is almost as if an experience is not rewarding enough unless we get to touch an animal or get as close as possible, regardless of how dangerous the situation, we want to touch and take selfies. I find it a wee bit grimmer when it comes to selfies as these are often not for our own immediate benefit, but rather to feed our ego by gaining as many likes as we can. The even grimmer part of the wild animal selfie comes when we see how many animals are killed, injured and left terrified as a result see https://www.sundaypost.com/news/world-news/cruel-reality-growing-trend-wildlife-selfies/ Do these people not care at all what happens to the animal afterwards?
The need to touch
I recently worked at a bird of prey centre and spent a great deal of time asking people not to touch the birds. I find it to be a huge shame that people come to these centres, where you feel as an employee, that a huge part of your job is to keep the animals healthy and displaying natural behaviours and you are constantly asking people not to touch them. I feel that this is the most unnatural act, however, some places practice it.
Just recently I saw pictures of a friends’ child stroking large owls at some outdoor event. With such pictures doing the rounds many now believe that their day at any animal centre is not complete if they didn’t touch anything. This is crazy when you think that it should be about seeing the animal, we are lucky to have that opportunity, and then we just want to reduce that fantastic animal to a cuddly toy. It’s terrible animal welfare for any place to allow this behaviour because it just feeds the need to touch. Quite often animal centres will make money from allowing people to touch animals and also get more repeat customers by using this as a selling point.
Many zoos and animal centres offer educational handling sessions/experiences which can be a fantastic way to get up close to some amazing creatures, and, at least in most cases, the animals being handled are far more suited to the experience and you get to learn something too.
I even had one guy at the centre stroke a barn owl that was on my glove about to be flown, he didn’t ask, he just did it. I told him off because in my opinion this is not what you do, he then informed me that at other centres he had been allowed to touch the birds and complained to my boss about me for telling him off. The entire experience was very uncomfortable and the guy was very lucky he wasn’t injured. He was clearly mortified about being told off and instead of apologising he felt the need to complain. Which brings me to my next question…?
Why do we feel so entitled?
I think we all understand the wanting to touch cute things, we grow up playing with soft toys resembling many species, especially cute ones and this fosters the need to touch. While I am certainly not saying we shouldn’t own soft toys, I think we need to be better educated when it comes to living animals both wild and captive.
It bothers me when you see people in the street approach a dog on a lead and pet the dog without asking first. This is not only rude, but extremely inconsiderate, how do we know that it’s OK to pet the dog? We don’t know that dog’s history, we are unlikely to know the owner, but we just think “I want to touch that dog” and we do. Don’t even get me started on feeding others animals as that is a whole post on its own.
Maybe, just maybe, we can consider ourselves fortunate to be able to see these animals, to want to touch, but to always have them slightly and safely out of reach.
I really don’t know how you bloggers do it. I had a quiet August, with just one part time job and loads of time on my hands and I got really into blogging. It’s a great new hobby. But then all of a sudden I got really, really busy with work. It’s great being busy, but I really miss writing this blog. How do you guys manage it?
I’m hoping once I settle into my new routine I will have time for blogging again, but it does take up a lot of time. I had, back in August, spent a great deal of time promoting my blog, something that I guess is really important if you want people to find you, but I think I will be spending more time on the content. I have an Etsy shop Lelsloom, and it is the same for that too, you really need to spend a great deal of time promoting your work when what we really want to be doing is the work itself, writing, knitting etc.
This is a very short post, but a post with an important question. How do you all juggle your blog with work, lifestyle and so on?
Writing my first blog post From wow to how? was very cathartic for me. I meant every word I said and I feel as if that post has set the tone for all my future blog posts. Self-worth is a very hard thing to quantify, isn’t it? It’s one thing to dish out advice to others, often using our own experiences as examples, yet, it’s another thing entirely actually putting these words into actions. Why? How many of us have sat with friends or loved ones listing all of their qualities in an attempt to boost their self-esteem? How many of us have had our self-esteem boosted by friends and loved ones? These exchanges feel good and they can work because much of the time we allow ourselves to be boosted by those we trust. Why can’t we do this for ourselves? Do we not trust ourselves? Do we not believe in ourselves?
Why is it so much easier to believe the negatives about ourselves rather than the positives? On any given day we are likely to receive more compliments than insults, but it’s the insults, the negatives that we are more likely to remember, more likely to dwell on. Why is this? We are taught from a young age that bragging and being arrogant is a negative thing, a flaw, if you will. However, it’s not as if there is an extremely thin line between putting ourselves down and being arrogant. There is a huge space between these two states, and, plenty of room for some self-belief; there is even room within that space to admit out loud that we believe in ourselves.
It seems that putting ourselves down has been fashionable for a very long time. Perhaps being self-deprecating is quite charming when done in a humorous way. However, I think it’s a real shame that we find it easier to put ourselves down rather than put ourselves out there. I’ve recently been writing a lot of cover letters and I find them so difficult to write, even though it’s not in person I find it so difficult to sell myself. If I were to write a critique of myself I feel it would be much easier and a great deal longer too.
I thought one thing that could be nice and positive for this blog post would be if we all post a sentence or two in the comments listing a few things we are good at. It can be anything, absolutely anything, as long as it is positive.
My name is Lesley-Anne. I am good at talking, hiding, looking after animals, handling animals, studying animals, presenting Science shows, knitting, making candles and being a good friend.
Why do we accept less than we deserve in order to pursue our dreams? Many of us do it. We may work for free to gain more experience in our field. We may do unpaid internships. However, when it comes to paid work, why do we take less than we should? We do this because we feel lucky to have such an amazing job, right? However, is it really such an amazing job if we must sacrifice our rights and accept questionable pay in exchange for our work? It may be a zero hours contract, no contract, never-ending trial periods, unpaid working hours and even below minimum wage. Are we not belittling our own worth? Whilst setting a standard that means future employees can either work for the same, or be considered a pain to simply expect what they are legally entitled to.
These things are bad enough, but it gets worse. When you work for someone who has so little respect for their employees, it rarely stops there. Your boss can do what they want to you, they may say things that a real boss wouldn’t be permitted to say to you. You are leaving yourself open to discrimination, bullying and you can never trust that your work will be acknowledged or rewarded. By accepting less than you deserve, you are at the mercy of your boss. They know they have a hold over you. You have the most amazing job in the world, why would you ever leave? Why would you dare question the system? Often, by accepting these terms you become complicit in this illegal act. Your employer knows this. How do you think they sleep at night? It’s very difficult to work for someone you don’t trust and without a contract there is very little you can do about it. This will lead to resentment. It is not healthy and it will affect you and your work.You may feel constantly on edge, knowing that at any moment you could be replaced by someone willing to work for even less. This is when we must listen to our gut instinct.
It’s not always easy to trust your gut instinct when pursuing your dreams. Yet, this is perhaps when we should trust it the most. If your gut instinct is telling you it’s not right when it feels like it is the best opportunity in the world, listen to it, trust it. I’m not suggesting you should never go against your gut, there are times when we say we have a gut instinct about something, when it fact we just don’t want to do it. However, we seem to be pretty good at listening to our gut when it comes to our personal lives, so I think we should pay the same attention to our professional lives. Chances are if you have found yourself in this situation, you have finally found the most amazing job in the world; you have worked extremely hard for it. You may have studied for many years, volunteered hundreds of hours of your time for free to gain more experience in your field. You have probably supported yourself along the way working in many jobs just to pay the bills, believing this would all lead to you getting that amazing job you deserve. Keep going. You will find that job. However, if you are working for less than you know you truly deserve, listen to your gut, this is not that job.
Thank you for reading. I would love to hear from anyone that can relate to this post.