I saw a graphic on Facebook today that said, “What if today we were grateful for just…everything!?” I really like that, because that’s how I try to live my life everyday. I work hard, though lately it’s not that much work, to be grateful for everything, even the less than totally pleasant things. I have an old friend who calls me “sunny side up kind of gal.” She’s know me for over 30 years, so sometimes I am a little shocked and surprised to be reminded that I have always been optimistic and grateful, though there were times in my life where I felt a lot of anger, and gratitude does not grow well in angry soil.
Angry me was not a terrific person to know. I deflected oncoming people and potential friends with an invisible force field that was tough as steel and three feet thick. I didn’t know that I had this deflector shield until it was gone. Anger bred depression and depression and drinking are a terrible cocktail. I wrote really well when I was drunk and angry, though, so there’s the sunny side of that period 😉
Yet I know if I had to choose a lifelong motto, it would be something akin to, “Hope springs eternal.” That truly idealistic view is a double edged sword. It has kept me alive, and moving forward, and growing, and because of it I developed a certain passion and tenacity that is almost like having a super power. On the flip side, it has kept me places that I should not have been long after I should have left them. But, there are sunny sides to those bad places, too.
Take my marriage to the sociopath, for example. I stuck that out long past the point where most, less hopeful, less springy, people would have left. However, there was a gift in the staying, which I have only recently realized. I found my worth by staying in that marriage for so long. I finally realized that I really do deserve better. No, I deserve the best, despite my past. I deserve happiness. I wonder if I would have figured that out had I not stayed so long?
And so we circle back to being grateful for everything. I am truly grateful for everything, the good, the horrible, and that middle ground we tend to ignore. Like most, I learn best from my mistakes and poor choices. Today, I am grateful for all of those mistakes, unfortunate life experiences, and bad choices, for if I had not had them, I would not be who I am today. Embrace your mistakes and bad choices and see just how far they’ve brought you!