THE STRAIGHT UP
WaterWe Swim In The First Step of Gratitude
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
or Instagram living their “perfect” lives, and we can’t help but think, “My life should be like that.” Nothing kills gratitude faster than thinking that things should be a certain way. I believe gratitude starts with expectations. When we expect our blessings to be there, we forget to be grateful for them.When something goes wrong and we get depressed by thinking about how our life shouldn’t be this way, we forget to look for ways to make our lives better. Expanding our focus and redefining expectations can help us find new blessings. Earlier this year, my husband and I took a trip to NewYork City.We walked all over Manhattan, roughly 12 miles in a single day. Though I had comfortable shoes on, they weren’t 12-mile- walk shoes. By the end of the day, my right foot started hurting and kept hurting for six months after that trip. I won’t go to the doctor if I can help it, so for the first three months, I told myself the pain would go away. After a while, I told myself that it wasn’t getting worse, so I was fine. Then I got mad that my foot was still hurting.
so maybe my body was trying to tell me something.
I started doing more yoga, did some research, and really thought about my feet, hips, and posture. I learned how our hips can impact the rest of the body. Suddenly, after taking in the whole picture and making some changes, my foot wasn’t hurting anymore. To my surprise, other parts of my body started to feel better, too. Developing this greater awareness helped me improve my overall health and recognize more blessings in my life. We don’t want pain or sadness in life, but rejecting those things with, “This isn’t how it should be,” doesn’t help us. I’m not saying we have to be grateful when bad things happen. It’s awful when bad things happen, and most bad things are worse than an aching foot. However, when these things do happen, the best thing we can do is look at the bigger picture. Step out of the water we swim in and look at all the parts. Is there something we can fix? Is there a blessing we’ve forgotten? Every day is a blessing and an opportunity. Let’s not waste them by telling ourselves life should be a certain way. Instead, let’s look at what life is and how it could be.
We are pretty darn blessed to be living in the 21st century. Almost everyone on Earth today enjoys a better quality of life than most people did in years past. Those of us who live in the United States are exceptionally lucky.While we certainly have our problems, we also have clean water, stable infrastructure, and other amazing programs dedicated to making life better for everyone.We are insanely, enormously blessed, but so often we forget about these blessings. Many of us, myself included, get to the point where we expect the world to be a certain way.We expect things to go our way all the time, and when they don’t, we get angry about it. Americans are called ungrateful, but I don’t think that’s the full truth.We are aware of our blessings, but it’s the water we swim in.We’re so accustomed to the good life that we can’t imagine a world without these blessings. Truthfully, things could be a lot worse; no one owes us anything. This might sound pessimistic, but I see it as something truly amazing. If no one owes us anything, then every day is a blessing. That’s easy to forget when your alarm goes off and you have to get out of bed, get the kids to school, go to work, make dinner, and fill your days with “have-to’s.”Then we throw in social media, seeing everyone on Facebook
“My foot is not supposed to hurt like this!” I insisted. “My foot shouldn’t hurt all the time.”
There I was, thinking about how things “should” be, a mindset that wasn’t making my foot better and was only making me more unhappy. Finally, I decided to adjust my expectations and accept my situation. My foot was hurting,
–Dr. Leslie Pitner
Smile big. Smile often. • 803-781-5225
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