For much of my life I was totally ungrateful for my success. No matter how much more I earned, or the improvements I made in the quality of my life, it was never enough. My experience of lack wasn’t limited to my professional life, it showed up everywhere, in my personal relationships, with my family, and mostly with myself. I spent much of my life trying to be positive, feeling like there was something wrong with me, constantly trying to prove and validate myself to make up for my crappy self-image. Most people would never have known that I walked around literally hating myself, because I faked it until I made it. People don’t like losers, right, and I had no interest in anyone knowing how I really felt about myself. Being vulnerable and authentic about my self-loathing would have only served to prove me right about all the nasty things I said about myself in my own mind.
In the fall of 2016, I started a personal development journey that transformed my entire life. In the past I would be have been embarrassed to share any of this publicly, and now I know that we do the best we can with what we know, when we know better, we do better. I also know that I am not alone. Most of us have thoughts and feelings that we keep hidden from view. There are areas of our lives that aren’t exactly where we want them to be, we lack confidence or experience fear or anxiety. I have also learned that by sharing my experiences vulnerably I give others permission to do the same. When I show up and allow myself to be seen wholly, others experience the freedom to do the same.
Developing a daily practice of gratitude was instrumental in shifting my mindset from one of scarcity and lack, to one in which I see the abundance around me. Discovering that I am enough, perfect where I am right now, meant I stopped trying to fix and change myself, and those around me. Now I know that I can be profoundly grateful for my life today, while still being dissatisfied, because there is so much more I want to accomplish, more of an impact I want to have for others, and for myself. Grounding myself in gratitude, while desiring more, allows me to take actions not from there being anything wrong with my life today, but from my commitment to expand the impact I have on the world around me. My experience is that God, the Universe, Life whatever you personally believe, will not give you more, if you aren’t first grateful for all that you already have.
Regardless of the circumstances of our lives, and believe me I know, sometimes the circumstances are far from ideal, there is always something to be grateful for, a lesson to be learned, an opportunity to be discovered, if we are willing to focus our minds on what we have versus what we don’t. I choose to believe that life is always unfolding for us, not against us. Often this is easier to see in the rearview mirror of our lives, when we look back, we can see that the job we didn’t get, the relationship that didn’t go the way we wanted, or some other circumstances that we didn’t want at the time, was actually opening the door for something beyond our imagination.