Reflections: Daily Gratefuls

That is now the second ZoD Challenge: Daily Gratefuls complete!

Without a doubt this challenge made me realise that I take quite a lot for granted.

I wondered why this was the case and concluded it was because I viewed these things as normal. Having a roof over my head, food in my belly and being surrounded by my loved ones is all I’ve ever known. And luckily for me I’ve never had to experience a life without the above.

On day 5 I stated that I was grateful for the ability to drive and own a car. I know it could be argued that having a vehicle is a luxury and not a necessity. However, when I wasn’t able to drive due to a stress fracture in my leg it made me really appreciate what having a car enabled me to do. It was the independence and freedom to go where I want to, when I want to comfortably, without needing to rely on others or public transport that made having a car valuable.

I know this is quite a trivial example but the principle holds true for many things. That is, we don’t really appreciate something until it’s gone/taken away from us.

This challenged proved a little difficult for a couple of reasons: at times it was kind of hard to think of specific things that I am grateful for, possibly because this isn’t a thought exercise that I deliberately spend time engaging in. And usually thoughts of gratitude occur randomly or just pop into my head when I am triggered by something.

Also, it may have been the timing of the challenge. September for a lot of us meant some kind of return to “normality”, schools were re-opening, people were encouraged to go back to work and generally things had to be readjusted which takes getting used to all over again. I observed for the first week or so that I received quite a few daily grateful entries and then the numbers dwindled. I’m not faulting anyone here I guess this is why it’s a challenge; to not only push ourselves outside of our comfort zone but to also create some space to commit ourselves to a new habit and follow it through despite the obstacles that get in the way.

So well done to everyone who sent me an entry throughout September, especially to the people who managed to stick it out till the end!

What did I learn from this challenge?

Asking myself what I am grateful for every day for 30 days encouraged me to reflect inwardly and this helped to develop my self-awareness.

Writing my daily gratefuls down revealed to me that I am very privileged to live the life that I do. And when I really think about it, there is not a lot, if anything for me to complain about.

This challenged highlighted what is important. When reading through the daily gratefuls; I could see the things we hold dearly and really value are things we cannot touch. These are the relationships we have with others, the experiences and memories we’ve had, it’s the life lessons and what we have learned from them. It is who we have spent time with, something or someone that has made us feel: happy, loved, proud, fulfilled, supported, cherished and cared about. It is the people who we’ve met in the past or recently, it’s the things we have done/do to help others, the knowledge we have received and shared and generally the joyful moments we have had: be it with others, what we have noticed from our surrounding environments or the joy experienced when we’ve worked hard to achieve or accomplish something.

Creating my list of daily gratefuls has highlighted the positivity in my life. The challenge inspired me to pay more attention and to be more mindful of the little things. And I’ve now realised that my normal is pretty remarkable.

Although, I can’t imagine what it’s like to not have my family around, or not know when I’m having my next meal or where I am going to sleep for the night. This shift in perspective has occurred because it has become even more apparent to me that for a significant proportion of society this is their reality. And many would dream to have their basic needs met and live the life that I and the majority of people that I know, live.

Ultimately, I’ve become more conscious of the fact that my life is special and I will no longer be taking my privilege for granted. To be honest having that choice alone is why I am grateful.

I hope for all of you who took part in this challenge that by thinking and writing down your daily gratefuls during September that you have gained a greater sense of appreciation and a new found meaning to your life.

And for those who didn’t, I hope by reading this post you have been inspired to think about your personal circumstance a little differently.

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