The posts for November have been all about gratitude. Now, gratitude isn’t a new concept. But, we can all agree it’s important to be grateful and teach our kids to be grateful. For today’s adventure let’s discuss why practicing gratitude consistently is significant in our lives.
The Problem – Consistency
Consistency. That’s a word that floods my body will all sorts of thoughts and emotions. I instantly think about times in my life when I was consistent. And I think about where I’m currently falling short and not being consistent.
How does the word consistent, consistency, or being consistent make you feel? How do you measure up when you self evaluate how things are really going?
After I sorted through several emotions I realized there are two main feelings – feeling proud and feeling shame. Feeling proud of those times I was consistent and accomplished something big. And on the opposite side, feeling shame for those times I was not consistent and fell short.
Do you also feel shame for those times you were not consistent and fell short? I truly believe we must be kind to ourselves. We must acknowledge where we fell short, pick ourselves up and decide to move forward. We can and often must give shame a small moment of our time. But only enough time for the feeling to inspire us to try harder.
When we allow shame more than a small moment of our time we become an easy target for the Shame Spiral.
The Shame Spiral
Oh, the shame spiral. My husband was the first one to introduce me to this concept, but if you search it online you’ll find lots of great information. The basic idea of the shame spiral is you allow negative thoughts to overwhelm you until you get to a not great place and feel really stuck.
Here’s a little story that serves as an example of a shame spiral. This may or may not have actually happened (I’m being super vague to protect the innocent).
My friend decides she was going to make healthier food choices to improve her overall health. She’s super excited. She has done research about healthy foods. Her meals plan is ready and she grocery shops for everything she needs. She is set.
Morning – starts out great. She has a healthy breakfast just as planned. Her snack and lunch also go really well. At this point she is pumped. Sure it has only been two meals, but she is determined to stay on track.
Afternoon – my friend gets a call from the school – sick kid. She has to pick him up from the school office because he has a slight fever. She wasn’t planning on having a sick kid and things are really busy at work. But what can she do? She has to leave work and pick him up from school.
Evening – After taking care of her sick child and getting the other kids home from school she prepares dinner as planned. SWEET! She successfully finished her first day of healthy eating.
Morning – The next day her husband stays home from work while their son recovers. My friend sticks with her meal plan and has a healthy breakfast. At work she is ready to tackle more than a day’s worth of work. Time flies by and she realizes she missed her planned lunch time. No worries, she was at a good place to take a break and decides to eat her lunch.
Afternoon – She opens the fridge in the break room only to realize she forgot her healthy lunch at home. By this time she is super hungry and she still has tons of work to finish. It’s a coworkers birthday and there is leftover cake on the table. She eats a piece of cake and gets back to work.
Evening – When my friend gets home she eats her lunch for dinner and is proud of herself for doing her best to stick with her healthy eating plan.
Fast forward to Day 10
Life kept getting in the way for my friend. As hard as she tried to eat healthy, things kept coming up. She was set off course over and over again. At first she was able to resist the negative thoughts, but it was so hard. She let the negative thoughts continue until she just gave up. She couldn’t see a way to win and decided it was easier to quit.
So, by now you may be thinking – why is she talking about a shame spiral and consistency? I thought this post was about gratitude. This girl in on a wild tangent.
Let me explain.
Practicing Gratitude Consistently is Significant. It’s significant, because every single once of us goes through hard times. During those hard times it is super easy to allow negative thoughts and feelings to set us off course. When you are practicing gratitude consistently, it is easier to defend yourself against those negative thoughts.
By practicing gratitude consistently, you can push past negative thoughts and set yourself back on course. When you are practicing gratitude consistently, you protect yourself from getting sucked into the shame cycle.
Maybe you haven’t been practicing gratitude consistently and are currently stuck in the shame cycle. You can always practice gratitude and break free from the Shame Cycle. If you are stuck, you can always use gratitude to shift your mindset and get back on course. Gratitude really is so amazing.
If you have a tool that is so amazing and helped you multiple times a day, would you want to store it away? No, you would want to keep it close by and use it all of the time. Gratitude is a tool you will want to keep close by and use all of the time.
It’s Important – Work on Practicing Gratitude Consistently
There are so many simple and easy ways to practice gratitude. We will save that for another post, but here’s a link with some really great ideas.
Now, these gratitude exercises may be simple and easy, but, it’s not always SIMPLE or EASY to CONSISTENTLY practice gratitude.
Being consistent at anything can be a real challenge. And consistency definitely deserves it’s own post. For now, commit to yourself to practice gratitude. Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down in negativity. Staying positive by practicing gratitude. Develop the habit and before you know it you’ll be practicing gratitude consistently.
The Support – You have support
As you practice gratitude you’ll focus on all of the things you have rather than the things you want. You’ll see there are so many things in your life that are going right. Choose to focus on the positive things. Practicing gratitude consistently will help you focus on others instead of yourself.
If you’re looking for way to help your kids learn gratitude, here are two recent posts to help.
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