Sometimes things happen in the course of a day that stick with us.
Some things leave a lasting positive feeling and some things leave a more negative feeling.
There have been several times in the past few days when I was completely knocked down by other people’s words – and within those same days, completely lit up with a deep feeling of happiness.
I recently joined a Facebook group called the 40-Day Gratitude Circle.
It’s all about celebrating the moments in life for which we are grateful.
When I received the invitation, I was leery.
But my gut instinct said to join because there is plenty to be grateful for in daily life. I thought I would be able to find something to share each day. I am, by nature, a pretty positive person anyway, so how hard could it be?
My apprehensive brain said maybe not. What if it is a struggle?
What if I have to pretend that I have something that I am comfortable sharing? What if I realize I’m not comfortable sharing my “stuff” outside my own head? I was just nervous about it all.
I accepted the invitation anyway and was determined to make the most of it, to create the best outcome.
I began to look all around me for things that I could possibly use for posts. I was trying to find things that sounded interesting, things that would sound sincere even if I might not be feeling it right at that moment.
I was looking at things outside of me that I could “find and experience” so I could create a post, as if it were an external thing that was going to happen to me rather than a feeling that was going to come from within.
I noticed many beautiful things in the world, things that were definitely worth a second glance and a mention.
Things that were awe-inspiring, like Arizona sunsets and beautiful mountains with clouds all around. It made me feel happy looking at them and I was grateful for these moments.
What surprised me was while I was looking for those moments of beauty, I was seeing much more than just a scene out a window.
I was finding things that were much deeper, that had nothing to do with mountains and sunsets.
I started by looking at the external beauty in the world, but found myself also looking at each event in my day and trying to decide how to feel about it.
I was really observing the ins and outs of the day and finding out there were a lot of moments that were post worthy – and they were right in front of my face.
I was surprised at how many times in a day I felt this way, even if only for a few seconds.
Expressing gratitude began to transform the way I viewed the world.
The sunsets were still there and as beautiful as ever and the clouds (although less frequent these days) were still noteworthy. The moments in a day when I was asked to respond to something became much more impactful than anything in the outside world.
I was realizing that my choices were guiding my day and I needed to make those choices count.
I began to look at the moments when someone said something that caused me to feel small. I thought it through and then decided how much of that I was going to let in.
I recognized when I was filled with joy and remembered to celebrate that feeling.
I altered the path of my day simply by recognizing how much was mine to own and how much belonged to other people.
Everything that happens in a day has a choice attached to it. I have been finding that I am the one who ultimately gets to make that choice. I choose if I am going to allow the negative to take over or if I am going to look for the positive in any given situation.
Every request, every statement, every action requires us to choose a path.
We can decide to be strong and trust ourselves to make the choice that is best for us at that moment or let others lead us to a choice.
There are many times when the choice we have to make is merely going to be the lesser of two evils, but at least we can choose. We can turn the situation into a path of growth and positivity if we so decide.
Inevitably, if we choose our own path it is going to be the most fulfilling way to experience life. If we are listening to ourselves, truly listening, each decision, whether big or small, can have a profound effect on the direction our day takes. These decisions ultimately form the path we follow throughout life.
Taking the time to make sure it is the path we want might mean feeling uncomfortable for an hour or a day or a week, but in the end, the peaceful place that is left behind inside of you will be all you need.