Do you remember The Pit of Despair in the movie The Princess Bride? It brings a chuckle because it’s meant to be funny.
The real pit of despair isn’t so fun.
It’s slimy down there, cut off from light and oxygen. And it’s such an easy place to slide into.
Sometimes all it takes is a few minutes of social media scrolling.
You see what others have. Where they are in life—their pinnacles and highlights.
You compare it to where you are. What you have. What you want.
Suddenly you’re in a downward spiral of negative thinking headed straight for the pit. You just want to wallow. To go back to bed and pull the covers over your head. It sucks away your motivation and joy.
You’re not sure how to claw your way back to the light.
But you do know it has something to do with gratitude.
For me, I’ve noticed this progression:
Commitment first. Then action. Then feelings.
Commit to making gratitude part of your life. Follow through on the plan. Feel grateful.
Deliberately schedule gratitude into your daily and weekly rhythms.
Every Sunday, my pastor asks us what we can thank God for.
Every week I join a group of praying mamas who circle up and close out the world to talk to God. Part of that time is devoted to giving thanks, expressing gratitude.
Daily gratitude tends to be alone rather than with others. It helps to have a routine.
Take action: follow through on the plan
Stop every day to thank God for three things. A deliberate pause in the day to give thanks makes a world of difference.
Meet with a group who gives thanks to God every week.
How much gratitude do you need?
And do you have to come up with new things every day or can you repeat yourself?
Should you give thanks morning and evening? Or just in the morning? Or just in the evening?
Maybe it depends on the person. Maybe evenings are better for some and mornings are better for some.
Experiment and see.
Choosing to make gratitude a part of your daily and weekly routines will make a difference in your perspective.
Your emotional energy won’t be drained by negativity.
Experience the feelings of gratitude
A funny thing happens. You begin to FEEL grateful.
Your paradigm shifts.
You think about the white page, not the black dot.
The problems and difficulties shrink. The negative resumes it’s rightful place, not overshadowing all the good.
Try it. See if it works for you.
See if your mood shifts, if you start walking on a higher plane.
That’s what gratitude gives you.
The truth of the matter is, almost everything is a mixed bag.
The spiritual journey is.
Once in a while all the stars align, all the pieces fall into place. There’s no wrinkles or snags.
But that is a rare occurance.
Everything else is a mixed bag.
When relationships are good, there’s physical pain. Or financial stress. Or technical difficulties. Or a snafu in the plan. Or confusion and miscommunication.
So many things can happen to spoil a spotless page.
Tools that can help
I’ve learned that buying something doesn’t change your life. You usually have to change first and then whatever you’re buying helps you.
You can’t buy products that produce what you want in your life.
Products are just tools. Tools to help you do what you’ve already decided to do. You can’t buy something that will change your heart. You have to make the commitment first. Then take action. Then the feelings and rewards will follow.
I think it’s human nature to want to take the short cut.
To buy our way to our goal instead of paying the price.
There’s nothing wrong with tools. They do what tools do. They help you get the job done better. But they’re only going to be as good as the person running the tool. It’s going to be the drive and passion and heart of the person using the tool that’s going to make the difference.
My Gratitude Journal is a tool that I’ve created. It’s not a magic bullet that will change your life. But, if you’ve already committed to intentionally cultivate gratitude, it’s a tool that can help.