The end of 2009 was a really rough time for me. It was just before the holidays when I had had a miscarriage at 14 weeks. Even just typing this now brings tears to my eyes. I can still feel the heartbreak and devastation.
I truly did not know how to keep going. This was 2 years into what ended up being a 7 year journey with unexplained infertility.
So how did I get through those 1,825 days – there is one thing that really made the difference for me. Learning this skill truly was a turning point.
Even though there were still so many hard, hard days – this helped me to stop feeling so angry with myself (and everyone else) and start feeling hopeful.
Here’s exactly what I did:
- Each morning when I woke up I’d think of 3 ways my body was working (my eyes opened, my lungs breathed, my heart beat) – truly the simplest of things.
- Each night as I lay in bed I’d think of 3 things that worked that day (my car started, paid the electric bill, walked our dog Rocky) – again the simplest of things.
And as I stuck with it two things happened. One it became easier and easier to think of things that were working in my life and that list of 3 just naturally expanded.
And two I felt better. The dark cloud that had infiltrated every single area of my life felt less all consuming. I felt like I could exhale, like I could be myself and quite honestly like I could do things again.
This is what my gratitude practice looks like even to this day.
Being able to see what’s working in your life is an essential skill if you want to enjoy your life and if you want to be happy.
This is why I’ve taught my 3 year old to do it as well. Every night before bed, he says his prayers which is all the things he’s grateful for from the day. It’s usually something like “Dear God, Thank you for your honesty, for baseball and for Ace & GiGi.”
Life can get hard, complicated and messy sometimes. But you can find your happiness anyway. It lives within the imperfection. And in order to see it, you’ve got to teach your brain how to look for it.
You will hear about this from me a lot because it’s so important.
Kind of like back when you were in school and you had to practice your times tables over and over and over again until 2 x 2 = 4 just rolled off the tip of your tongue. (Do they even still teach math like that?) It’s like that.
It truly is that fundamentally important.
Being able to see what’s working in your life is a vital skill (yes, it’s a skill you have to learn and practice).
So tonight, before you go to bed, give it a try – think of 3 things that worked for you today.
To your happiness!