Giving thanks is a gesture I try to incorporate into not just my daily life telling the cashier thank you, in business telling my production team thank you, but also in my parenting. Most nights (as some nights do not go according to plan - shocker) we share one good thing and one silly thing from our day. At first we were sharing one good thing and one bad thing, however we switched it in an effort to get our daughter to tell us more stories and focus even more on the positive.
Focusing on the positive and keeping our eye on the good can seem like a difficult task when technology bursts into our lives as emails, social media, and news alerts with reminders of wildfires, civil wars, election results, and political upheaval. Remember that trend on Facebook from a few years ago, when friends would try to post once a day what they were thankful for throughout the month of November? I wish this was a practice we all instilled in our life daily. I tell my babysitter everyday she leaves "Thank you" as she walks out the door. That daily "thank you" is for her being with my daughter to give me time, the capacity to have clear thoughts, energy, the space to be efficient, adult conversations, time to work or workout. Basically time to do all the things I need, to acknowledge the parts of me that existed before I identified as Mom.
Being a parent, you hope to hear your child(ren) tell you thank you, but given their lack of understanding and life experience you know that they don't have the capacity to fully understand everything you do for them. Parenting is hard and there is no way I could have ever come to terms with the power of its difficulty had I not first learned to acknowledge that even baby steps are forward motion. There was a time that I battled PTSD, insomnia, and depression - my days were pretty much a void of negativity. One of the overwhelmingly impactful tools I used before settling into what was one of many long (and often consecutive) sleepless nights was thinking of three things from my daylight hours that were good.
In the beginning, the tiniest positive tones counted because in your darkest moments those little lights need help to shine brighter. Finishing a book, sitting in the sun with my dog, getting laundry done - legit little things. Once I committed to this habit of recognizing three things, finding more came easier with every day. I started to feel more confident and lighter. It's a practice that reminds me that no matter what shitty person, rough conversation, or jarring event that has just occurred - life will still move forward, away from that negativity. That keeping our vision clear of the negative clouds is easier if we can just keep the positive top of mind.
Before we head into the holiday season, busy with family, celebrating, and fun, give yourself some acknowledgement of what you've accomplished in the last day, week, month, and year. Especially as a parent - give yourself some credit for raising a little human, they're a tough crowd!
What practices do you have or share with your family that recognize and acknowledge gratitude and keeping an eye on the positive? Leave me a comment!