Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses. ~Alphonse Karr
I had the opportunity to attend a writing conference a few month's back. The guest speaker during dinner was a well known author who has enjoyed some success in the world of writing. When I say success, picture Oprah's book club and #1 on the New York Times best seller's list with her first novel. As she began her speech to us that night, she spoke of a recent string of bad luck she and her family had been facing. When I say bad luck, think back to Job. Have a picture in your mind? Let's just say she gave him a run for his money. Every time you thought she was done with her list of bad things she would say "And then things got worse." So now I know what you're thinking. Jeez, what a depressing talk that must have been, and I'll admit there were tears running down my face by the end....but they were tears of laughter.
Her story was filled with humor, joy and an amazing gratitude for what was good in her life and honey I gotta tell ya, at that point there wasn't much. She was grateful for her friends, family, people wanting to come hear her speak, and the fact that she had more stories in her to tell. I walked away feeling completely uplifted by her outlook on life. I'm always humbled by people who focus on the good and never the bad.
One of my biggest pet peeves is people who habitually complain about their lives but in reality have nothing to complain about. The service was bad, traffic is awful, the weather is too hot, too cold, someone ate my porridge...okay, you get the picture. I'll be the first to admit that I've done it - we all have but if you can force yourself to stop and look around, you can always find something to be grateful for. I remember reading an article once on blessing your troubles. An example of this was being thankful for the bill you receive when your car needs to be fixed. The idea being that it meant you were lucky enough to have a car. Bless your heat bill, because it meant you had a warm house to live in. You get the idea.....
A few years ago a good friend gave me a small notebook to use as a gratitude journal. Each day you write down 5 things for which to be thankful for. Some days what I write may be dramatic (We bought a house!) to the very simple (We went for ice cream on a hot day), but the point is, even on the hardest of days, there is always something to be found. I notice that the more days in a row I write something, the better my life seems. When things in life seem bad I go back and read over old entries and it’s amazing how quickly my perspective can change. Give it a try and see if you don't find the same thing.....and the next time you're tempted to complain about the thorns of life, take a deep breath and focus on the roses.