Irony- I started this blog misspelling -gratitude as ‘gratidude’- tude vs. dude? Then my mind began to wander like a dog at a park full of squirrels. The dude, according to The Big Lebowski, was pretty content, but was continually thrown into situations with others who were unhappy with their current circumstance. The act of trying to get back to contentment is constant. The ‘Dude’ spent his entire time in this movie convincing others to be grateful for what they had. It’s great farce, that reoccurs in all our lives.
How many of us are completely OK, yet interrupted by someone else’s discontent? Even better, we are completely fine then attempt to find a way to make ourselves discontent. The Ol’ self-sabotage move (like a ninja who attacks themselves, with nunchucks? Squirrel!). We have a choice. We can take on other’s discontent or lack of gratitude or boldly pursue gratitude into their, whether they accept or not.
Gratitude is really happiness. I’ve posted some great articles below for reference, in case you are a nerd like me, and like people to back up what they say.
As a single mom of 2 teen pubescent boys, imagine the amount of ‘straight out of left field’ hormonal sneak attacks of angst (Hi-YA!).
I love my boys more than anything. Teen years are the second time in your life as a parent when you become partially lobotomized. The first is when you forget what the pain and cost of childbirth was like yet have another. Let’s be honest when it comes to gratitude, the ‘teen years are a vast desert; your only hope is a mirage’. Sometimes you must mechanically find a path to happiness.
I remember specifically one of my boy’s pubescent negative melt down. I had been reading on how to counter this negativity because it drove us CRAZY! So, I combated my son’s negativity. The only way a ‘mom of teens’ can by taking away something he loved more than me …The phone! I countered with “you must name 3 things you are grateful for before you can have your phone back”. He literally fought it like his body was being consumed by the plague. He shivered, moaned, and started to cry. He tried soo hard to resist this positivity. He looked like a cat in bathtub! Eventually he conceded. Through tears, and anger he mustered- “I …. Love ….am grateful for ……you …. Christmas…… Jesus….and my brother…….!” To my surprise he came up with four. I asked for 3 (I hope he’s never a cashier)! He did it even through fake tears. Watching your kid admit gratitude while fighting it at the same time, was hilarious! It meant positivity was in there. Everything I said positively as a parent was not in vain. He did it. It was like watching a WWF positivity smack down. Weird but fun. Let’s face it, teens have an uncanny ability to look anything joyful or happy in the face and just…PUNCH IT IN THE THROAT.
This time positivity won. This is when I realized how powerful gratitude can be! I realized that no matter how hard you try to be negative, when surrounded by positivity negativity cannot stay. As a comedian with a full life, I have had some pretty dark conversations that end up in full laughter. They are intimate jokes that help alleviate emotional pain. Kind of like church giggles. It’s a grey area, that can be fun. Many people do not understand this anomaly. Grey is not a term that is familiar with the algorithm generation. You click the box you are closest to, not the box you are (see All-Powerful Algorithms below). To be frustrated at change is normal. To never adapt and grow is not.
CHALLENGE: Every day for the next 15, or 30 days, post 3 things you are grateful for each day! In a journal, on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter (God knows twitter could use some positivity), it could even be on your Myspace account if you can find it. Start the new year off grateful and see where it leads.
Day 1- I’m grateful for my boys, life, and my wandering mind. - ‘Squirrel’