winnie the pooh

attitude of gratitude, it's harder than it looks

I am pretty sure everyone is talking about gratitude this week, I mean tomorrow is Thanksgiving and the holiday season will be officially in full gear so it makes sense. Everywhere you look in November there are articles about gratitude. Most of them are top 10 lists of ways to show gratitude or top 20 reasons gratitude is important in your life. All of that is great and if we are honest, don't we already know all of that? Of course being grateful is a great thing and of course it would help people feel happier and more positive. But knowing you "should" do something and knowing "how" to do it, especially on a regular basis is easier said than done. Just ask anyone who has ever attempted to eat healthier or make a New Year's Resolution to "work out more". We know we should, but man is it hard to do it day after day.

But expressing gratitude feels good. I mean cheese burgers are delicious, celery not as much so I get the whole diet dilemma. Exercising is hard, but Scandal is so easy to get hooked on. The struggle is real with these. I just can't wrap my head around the gratitude part though...

Apparently, there are actual reasons, according to some doctors and researchers that people struggle to show or express gratitude. Most of them, from the best I can tell are linked to feelings of insecurity and low self esteem. 

  • Negative emotional baggage from our childhood (1)

  • Perception as a sign of weakness (1)

  • Expectations (1)

  • Feelings of vulnerability (2)

  • ego (3)

  • confusion with the idea that gratitude has to be expressed for both good and bad (3)

Now, this makes sense to me. It isn't that we aren't grateful, it is that we don't feel deserving of the things in our lives that we would traditionally show gratitude for. I wish I could say I felt good about knowing this and understanding it. I say this because, doesn't it always come down to low self esteem and insecurity? When did we become so critical and self loathing?

I tried googling this, by the way and found very little. It has been part of a scientific/psychological conversation since the late 1800's/early 1900's and in the 1960's the idea of "self esteem" was defined by the "Rosenberg self-esteem scale" (4) but none of this tells us "when" it became such a big deal. Was it always there, since the beginning of time? Obviously as we have learned more about the human mind we understand more about the concept and that is fantastic but I still want to know where the heck it came from to begin with. Since, apparently that is not going to happen for me today but maybe it is like Deepak Choprah said, it is important for us to first understand why we struggle with gratitude. Once we do that, it allows us to be more aware and take time out to be grateful not just for others but for who we are more often than once a year over turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberries. 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

Be good to others and YOURSELF





Friday's Three ...err Nine Things!

Here is something you should know about me. I believe that all the problems of the world could be solved if we read and to to heart words from classic children's books. Don't try and argue with me, there is no convincing me otherwise. Think about it. We read to kids to help them learn how to navigate the life they are growing into. Why does this stop in adulthood? It shouldn't. There is something pure and delightful about books for children and even the small mom and pop bookstores that still choose to dedicate a portion of their space to the wonderful and magical world of books to a whole new generation of kids. 

In full disclosure I am mere weeks away from being an aunt for the first time and so I may be wrapped up in imagining all the books I can share with the baby to be but it is more than that. I sat at home last night with my mother and she pulled out our baby books. It was so weird to hear all about myself as a baby. What made it weird is how accurate it was to who I have become. It really is amazing how soon all of those things manifest. One of the things that stood out to me was that books was a part of my life from the start. I even had favorites that to this day still reign supreme for me.

I believed then and I believe now that Winnie The Pooh and Tigger (too) taught us how to enjoy and trust our friends; that Alice taught us how to imagine and make decisions. Curious George reminds us to be curious about everything and ask lots of questions. Ramona made it ok to have feelings and feel weird about that. Pippi convinced us that being weird wasn't just okay, it was actually cool. Then there is Dr. Seuss, well he taught us just about all of those things and so much more. 

 So for today's 3 things, I decided to talk Children's Books. Because of this there was  NO way I could stop at 3 things. In fact I could have spent the entire week listing my faves. So, here they are, a few of my favorites. (in no particular order and by far not the only ones I love.)

Why 9?

You may have wondered why I have chosen 9 of my favorite. It was going to be a top 10 list because that's just what people do. I mean nobody has a top 9 list, they are TOP 10 LISTS. So help me complete the list. Tell me what your favorite children's books were/are in the comments below.

We are never to old to be consumed by a book that reminds us of the wonderful things about life. Maybe if we read children's books more often we would remember to be kinder to one another as we learn the lessons from these beautiful characters.

Hope you have a great weekend filled with books and maybe even some milk and cookies. Hope you can come back next week.

P.S. When I went to read this back to myself I noticed that my baby book also reiterates in red ink, no less, how HUGE my appetite was. For those of you not in the know, that is because I was a VERY BIG baby! SO before the jokes come in, I am putting myself on blast. Let's just say my size and age do not correlate, thank goodness some things have changed because when Cookie Monster looks at your cock-eyed for how much you are eating, it's probably time to put down the cookie.