Recently my wife accidentally banged her toe against the leg of a chair. Believing it was just bruised she carried on in the hopes that the sting and subsequent pain would just go away. Not so fast. Weeks went by and it continued to be bothersome only to learn that it was broken. Throughout this extended healing process both consciously and unconsciously thoughts of discomfort were ever present. It curtailed her activity, limited the shoes she could wear and created anxiety in thinking it might never heal. Yes, it thankfully got better and life returned to normal.
So what is the point, you may be asking? When is the last time we were grateful that our toes, or any other part of our body for that matter, were fine? This irony transcends more than just our body. Do you remember the last time you did not have hot water for your shower or the electricity in your home wasn’t working? Or your sent emails were hopelessly stalled in your Outbox? Inconvenient for sure. Yes, the gratitude comes when these issues are resolved and our lives return to normal.
The good news about these situations is they were able to return to normal. There are other areas of our lives that do not. Think of a dear friend or family member who was an important part of your life but is no longer here—the pain of this loss and the grieving that followed were likely profound.
What is the common element that weaves through these stories? It is often not until something is either temporarily, or worse yet, permanently lost that we remember how important it has been in our lives.
What a perfect time of year to be more conscious of this tendency and better yet, create a new normal. Consciously value and be grateful for all you have. Cherish it. Everything. This can happen in very simple, new habits. Consider those who say grace before each meal have three times a day to express explicit gratitude for all one’s blessings. A friend of mine recently shared with me that he has converted his feelings of impatience while waiting at a stoplight to moments of expressing gratitude.
At this time of Thanksgiving, it is a perfect time to give some thought to a new practice that can lead you to a new behavior of gratitude. It is often said that a new behavior can be created with just 21 repetitions. However many it takes, imagine the elevation of the joyfulness in your life when you are able to manifest this “new normal”.