I am all about learning and growing. I think it’s because as I approached mid-life, I realized I had a choice: to become better or bitter, as the saying goes.
People, after they have some life under their belt, either spend time endlessly rehashing what has gone wrong in life, or celebrating life’s blessings.
And, since none of us are really living the picture perfect lives that people think we are on social media, something difficult is usually challenging each of us that we could choose to complain about.
Therefore, choosing to celebrate life’s blessings really is a choice.
Writing down what I am thankful for helps me no matter when I do it. Sometimes I do it in the morning as I journal and talk with God. I also do it with my husband after we get back from one of our hiking adventures.
We talk about what we are thankful for, and we jot it down. Writing down the good that happened helps us appreciate the special moments that could go unnoticed or be soon forgotten.
We write down our gratitude for the small things—like, in the heat of a Tennessee summer, we were thankful for the surprise of extensive forest cover and elevation that dropped the temperature to a comfortable level. We were grateful that we got to explore three state parks without rain when storms were in the forecast the entire weekend.
We also write about gratitude for the important things—like how grateful we were that we got to see family members again before they moved away. We are also grateful that both of our older, high-mileage cars are still kicking.
We also write to grow. Blogging helps us communicate to each other and to anyone who is interested in learning along with us how we can get better. Through writing what our opportunities for growth are, we have continued to get better as a couple.
We have learned ways to deal with physical challenges, like ticks and bugs (using the strong stuff on our boots and all natural stuff on our skin); dehydration, heat exhaustion and depletion of energy (through endurance and rehydration nutritional food); and difficult sleeping conditions, by either choosing a cheap motel or camping for a limited number of nights.
Through writing about how we have felt in relational challenges, we have been able to process our feelings and grow in our knowledge of one another. Something about putting feelings down on paper helps simmer down the emotions of tense moments. Then, after we have read our thoughts to each other, we often think of ways to compromise.
Our compromise that we came to after journaling about the challenges we were facing was that we would backcountry camp at night (my husband’s favorite way) in my favorite place (the beach).
We also would go into town in the heat of the day to see the quaint beach towns and be waited on at a local restaurant. This combination lessened the work of camping and made it still seem like a vacation to me. Sure, we carried our packs twice as much, but we also got a break from the blazing sun, and got to enjoy a bit of civilized beach life—without resort prices! It was a win-win situation.
So, how can you cultivate gratitude and growth?
- Write regularly.
- Include one event that you are grateful for.
- Describe one event that challenges you.
- Commit to seeing God’s blessings, even in difficult situations.
- Share your feelings with a loved one or friend.
If you haven’t done something like this before, start it soon! If you have done some sort of gratitude challenge, do it again. It never hurts.
If you have a writing project in your future but you don’t know where to start, contact me. I love to share my professional content development, writing and editing experience with others. I want to pass along nearly 20 years in the writing business and the knowledge gained in my master’s degree to help your project flourish!