Thoughts of gratitude or thankfulness has been on my mind a lot lately. Not just because it’s been the hot topic over the last few years, but because a little while ago I received an email with the subject line titled – Gratitude-.
I had just so happened to be having some extra tough weeks where I was dragging through the days. I was overworked, (my own fault) and definitely exhausted. I just kept plugging away trying to keep a good attitude, knowing that the crazy workload would ease soon. Then, out of the blue, this ray of sunshine popped into my inbox. Someone I don’t even know had taken a few minutes of their day to say thank you for all the recipes on the blog!
And you know what? Just a few words of gratitude was all I needed to feel like it was all worthwhile again. Just the simple thought of gratitude/thankfulness can completely change the aspect of how you view things, and really put life into perspective.
With all the photos I post on Instagram, I get a lot of messages from people telling me I should be thankful for my ‘privileged life’. Or they’ll say something along the lines that my life is obviously perfection. Instead of writing back and trying to explain that Instagram is a small fraction of my life, and I’m just trying to show things that inspire me. I just write back a quick note saying I am ever so thankful for this amazing life I lead.
We all have struggles in life, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a lot going on at any given time. But everyone I know also lives a wonderfully privileged life. Because if you have food, water, and a roof over your head – that qualifies as privileged. I always try to remind myself of this when things get rough or overwhelming.
There’s beauty all around us everyday and so much to feel gratitude for if that’s our focus. That’s one reason I love spending so much time behind the lens of my camera. I used to think carrying a camera with me on my travel/adventures just weighed my down, but it’s actually made me slow down and appreciate the things around me so much more, (even my flower garden which is featured in these photos).
When we were growing up, we were often less than thrilled about weeding the garden or washing the dishes. We were always reminded to be thankful there was a garden to weed that put food on the table, and that we even had dishes to wash. I can’t say it turned my attitude around as a kid. But now I have a few more years under my belt, I’m thankful for the voice in my head telling me to be thankful whenever I start complaining in my mind about life’s never ending chores.
There’s no doubt life is more than overwhelming at times. So it’s always good to be reminded that this crazy busy life is one of privilege that so many people on this earth would be grateful for. It’s a simple thing, but a little thankfulness goes a long ways towards being happy and content with what you have.
Early this year I took on a huge project of photographing a cookbook for someone. I knew exactly what I was getting into with the tight schedule, and I knew exactly how much work it would be. But even knowing that, in the middle of that crazy project with the long hours and the 1-2 hours a day of dishes, I was getting burned out. Everyday I would face the mountain of dishes, take a deep breath, plug in my earphones, and just get to work.
All the while there was that little voice in my head saying ‘aren’t you just so grateful to have all these dishes, and a nearly endless supply of hot water to wash them with?’. For me all it takes to completely do a 180º with my attitude is to remember how much I have to be thankful for. And most of all, I was thankful to our local library for an endless supply of audiobooks I could listen to for free, to pass the time while doing the mountain of dishes.
Also when you get right down to it, doing a couple hours of dishes while listening to a book sounds pretty good compared to most of my other job descriptions I’ve had. Actually doing it was definitely tedious at times, but put into the proper perspective of thankfulness, it wasn’t bad at all – even enjoyable.
I guess this is just a long winded way of saying that thankfulness or gratitude can completely change your life. Always looking at just how much I have in life instead of everything I thought I was going to have, or dwelling on life’s losses, has changed my life and I know it will change yours as well.