On Gratitude

I saw a post on Threads where a life coach had shared something along the lines of “The year ISN’T almost over, you STILL have time to move into that new house, get that new job, find that relationship…you just need to keep going!” and someone commented with “I’m tired. I want this year to be over. I’m tired, it’s been an unbelievably hard year.”

And her comment really made me think. Why is our culture so obsessed with “hustle culture” and “doing all the things”? Why do we glorify working ourselves to exhaustion? Why do we celebrate benchmarks and milestones but rarely encourage or even applaud taking the time to rest?

Nearly every piece I worked on this year for Atèlette is almost finished. And because I work in the fashion industry, the onslaught of sales, clearances, and holiday releases is a ticking clock that I am already behind on working on Spring/Summer of 2024.

But I want to rest. I put so much energy and thought into what is waiting in the wings, and now I want to take a break. And yet, my world is filled with voices that if I slow down, if I stop, then everything will crumble. I admit, I am wrestling with quieting down the voices and the feeling that if I stop for more than a couple of days, everything I worked so hard for and on, will dissipate into a wintry mist.

Perhaps I am writing this because I really need to hear it. I hope it is encouraging for you. I want you to know, for whatever it’s worth, that you CAN SLOW DOWN. You don’t need anyone’s permission. Your world isn’t going to fall apart. The world isn’t going to fall apart. It will all be there waiting for you still.

Gratitude isn’t just about being thankful. I have always thought they were synonyms and interchangeable, but they are actually different. Gratitude is choosing to appreciate the present moment. It is slowing down. It is awareness and noticing. Gratitude takes into account what is here and the now.

It’s been a difficult year for a lot of us and it is so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of things, to focus on the negative because it’s ever so present. I understand. The cost of living has gone up and quality of life seems to be disintegrating. Food costs are up, bills are up, gasoline is up, rent and mortgage is up, and for what? The quality hasn’t improved. I understand how you feel, I feel it too.

My genuine desire to practice daily gratitude isn’t to sweep those thoughts and feelings under a rug and hope they go away. They’re not going to. But I think we’ve forgotten how to embrace the beautiful gift of gratitude, to slow down and appreciate the journey, to reflect on what was and what is and leave it at that. I think our culture has become so much about acquiring more and more and climbing the ladder and improving our lot in life that we haven’t taken the time to look around and go “Hey, I do have enough. I still have much to be grateful for.”

10 Daily Gratitude Questions & Gratitude Affirmations

1. Name something beautiful you saw today. (I am grateful to notice the little things in life.)

2. What is a memory you are grateful for? (I am grateful for that time, that place, those people, the lessons, the laughter, or the tears.)

3. What kindness did someone give you today? (I am grateful for human connection.)

4. What was your favorite part of the day? (I am grateful for the day.)

5. What was the last compliment you received? (I am grateful to be seen, to be noticed.)

6. What are you looking forward to today? (I am grateful for my routines, my way of being, a space that’s quiet.)

7. Name someone who makes you smile. (I am grateful for the people in my life.)

8. What is something you are looking forward to? (I am grateful for opportunity, I am grateful for tomorrow, I am grateful to try again.)

9. What was something you were really proud of today? (I am grateful for my skills. I am grateful for my wit. I am grateful for my ability to stay collected in difficult situations.)

10. What have you done better this year than last year? (I am grateful for change. I am grateful for growth. I am grateful for lessons.)

I used to practice daily acts of gratitude and haven’t done so in a while. In a previous post I talked about what happened “when my dream came true…” I didn’t stop to appreciate anything. I just blew past the goal line and didn’t take a break. I want to begin practicing daily acts of gratitude again. Doing this will also allow me to take stock and to slow down. I ask this of myself, as I ask you, “What does slowing down mean to you? What does that day look like for you? What does it look like to practice gratitude daily?”

I want to ask myself one of these questions for the next 14 days. Maybe just the next 7 days to start out slow, so I’m not biting off more than I can chew then getting disappointed that I couldn’t keep it up. Which of these questions will you ask yourself?


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