Do you ever feel like you're not being grateful enough?
Around half 10 last night I was in the car. When I'm a passenger, I like to stare out of the windows. Spot things. People watch. Gawp at meaningless things and try and find some kind of meaning in them. As we passed through my hometown's high street, I saw a man rummaging through a bin. He then started scouring the ground for cigarette ends. I'm not going to lie, it looked pretty grim, but it made me think:
My life isn't as bad as I sometimes think it is.
Without sounding dramatic or too self-pitying, the past few months have been a struggle for me. I've been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately. Applying for jobs and hearing nothing back, going to intense interviews that last nearly an hour without getting the role, and generally keeping my head above water, have all left me feeling quite deflated.
I've also lacked blogging inspiration, and for the first time in 2 and a half years, I even (briefly) considered quitting. Thinking like that really worried me, because this is my little space on the Internet to ramble, instead of letting those thoughts clutter up my head. It gives me something creative to focus on, and new skills to learn. So, to consider quitting set the alarm bells ringing.
I've also avoided social media for weeks. Things have got on top of me. I've got messages, comments and tweets going all the way back into December that I haven't replied to yet. Why? Because I can be brilliant at burying my head in the sand. Sometimes the online world gets overwhelming and I need to take a step back. Leaving it all has been stressing me out, but, really, is it the end of the world?
Do you know what? I've a lot to be thankful for. Honestly. Things might not be going entirely to plan, but keeping myself busy is helping. Surrounding myself with good friends is helping. Focussing on what's good, and realising what isn't good for me, is helping.
Without wanting to tempt fate, life could be worse. I'm not homeless. I'm not rummaging through bins. I'm not struggling to survive. All of these things are what I need to be grateful for.
I might get frustrated sometimes. I might have pangs of panic about how my 'life plan' isn't going to fall into place if I don't miraculously make things happen. I might compare myself way too much to other people. But I'm a human being, like you, and sometimes we're all way too guilty of focussing on the negatives and no where near enough on the positives.
Having time away from certain situations and certain people has given me a wealth of time to reflect. And that time has led to the conclusion that I really don't need some people in my life; the ones who mess me around, the ones who are fickle, the ones who make me feel bad about myself.
Life could be worse than having a few people around that we could do without.
So, go back to basics and focus on the small things. Write down each day what you're grateful for. Take time out of each day to reflect on what's good in your life.
There are things this week that could have wound me up. On Friday, I smashed my phone screen again. My Mac's playing up, so I can't edit my next three YouTube videos like I wanted to. I received yet another generic job rejection on Friday. It's all stuff that'll get to you, if you let it. Not letting it upset you is easier said than done, I know. But you are really the only person responsible for your own mindset, and your own mental wellbeing. And let's face it: these things might be annoying but they could be worse. (Can you sense a theme occurring?)
Seeing one event, that momentary glance, has really helped me to put my problems into perspective. It's weird how such small things can make you philosophical, isn't it?
What are you grateful for?
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Snowdrop picture courtesy of From Roses' stock photo shop.