Today I find myself a year on from an extremely difficult day to feel like nothing, absolutely nothing has changed in this past year. 28th December 2018 shaped largely the first 8 months of 2019 and to say it was miserable is an understatement and sitting here remembering it, feels like I am in danger of doing exactly the same……
Therefore, I’m going to try this instead, inspired in part by a book my kids bought me for my birthday this year ‘The Little Book of Lykke’ and in part by Chris himself and his dedication to #365DaysOfCompassion, I’m going to try for myself 365 days of gratitude….Good enough gratitude.
The book Lykke was written by Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, Copenhagen. It follows his first, The Little Book of Hygge (TLBH) which I have also read.
TLBH I bought a few years ago, I was trying to embrace the ideas of smells, candles, sensory things to try and ease my anxiety and depression. Very small things, that I simply had no time or patience for prior to becoming so desperate, I would try anything. I read the book and slowly, because it was winter and my house was cold at the time, I did bring some of these things into my home. Kids being kids, open minded as ever, liked and enjoyed the small feelings of warmth that this engendered and were soon adding candles to the dinner table, offering to run me a bath with candles and blankets a plenty in our living room…. my eldest even went so far as to start learning Danish on Duolingo on the bus to school!!! However, I digress……
3 years on, for my birthday this year they both made my Hygge boxes – wooden boxes, filled with things to create the perfect Hygge moment – for me they judged this to be, teabags, mini candles, pine cones to remind me of nature, dried rose petals, the book a use to jot down funny things they’ve come out with over the years and a mini photo album, they also threw in a few chocolates (which I swear are more for them than me but I guess I can give them that) lastly they put in my copy of TLBH and bought me the Lykke book. I was incredibly touched; it was a thoughtful gift made up from things largely around the house but at acknowledgement that I had moved more in this direction, something met with their unquestioning acceptance and encouragement.
The Lykke book talks more about what are the common factors of happiness and has given me much room for thought. It runs through 6 factors, Togetherness, Money, Health, Freedom, Trust & Kindness – some of which resonate with me as areas in my life I can’t change yet or will take time to change, but others perhaps I can explore a bit more, celebrate a bit more, invest a bit more, notice a bit more – things I already do or things I think I might like to do ….. especially perhaps if I don’t try to make it perfect, don’t caveat my thoughts and accept somethings as they are for now – hence ‘Good Enough Gratitude’, Gratitude for something, that doesn’t have to mean life is perfect, I have it all sorted and I am somehow smug in my gratitude. This along with reading other people’s struggles across the #365DaysOfCompassion community and a desperate will to try and see things differently as a way of balancing, without dismissing, more difficult feelings keeps bringing the word Gratitude to mind.
I’ve struggled with gratitude, not because I don’t feel lucky for all that I have, but because I have historically used it as a stick to beat myself with. I don’t have any right to any of those ‘negative’ emotions because look how lucky I am. I also then have the stick of gratitude to fuel guilt, that I can’t ‘appreciate’ that luck and shame for the fact that so many others, have so many struggles that I can’t even comprehend… me and my first world shit – guilt, shame and piousness are the words I associate with Gratitude. How do you balance – being grateful for some things, without dismissing all may not be well in your life, no matter how lucky you are you can’t seem to ‘BE HAPPY’.
However, the more I read, the more times I see – Happiness doesn’t bring your gratitude, Gratitude brings your happiness… so let’s see if I can bring a little happiness by doing nothing more than noticing the large and small things in a day that I am genuinely, deep down grateful for…
For 2020, I am going to try to be Grateful for one thing every day, and really try to feel that gratitude. Not just say I should be grateful, but feel it and I’m going to try to do it publicly , short and sweet suits Twitter so maybe that platform will be the right place for it…. #Goodenoughgratitude.
Today on the 28th Dec 2019 I am grateful for the roof over my head, whatever the state of my house is and the never-ending building site it has been for years, our family has a roof, warmth and a home.
Today I am going to be grateful for that.
Schapa- December 2019
Schapa is the pseudonym of a member of the #365DaysOfCompassion who is kindly sharing their experience with the hope of supporting others and through writing to help with deepening their compassionate approach to themselves.