We are currently on the road heading back home from a weekend filled with family, good food and laughter into the wee hours(okay, 11pm but it felt like the wee hours). Our car is filled with dirty clothes, clutter, junk food, and unshowered, smelly bodies. It would be easy for me to sit here and complain about the fact that I've had a total of about 3 hours of sleep in the last two days due to all 5 of us trying to sleep in one room. How do families do this whole tiny living thing? It would be even easier to complain that my children won't stop whining and wiping their snot filled noses on my shirt because they are wiped. out. from playing with cousins all day and night. It would be a breeze for me to say it's an exhausting process to get everyone and everything packed in the car and unpacked and packed again and unpacked again after we arrive at home and that I never want to do it again. Let's not even talk about the loads of laundry that will fill up my entire day tomorrow.
What a horrible way to think about things, right? But, if I can be totally honest with you, these were ALL the first thoughts that ran through my noodle today. So, in true Catch This Mama form, I'm going to tell you that it's okay to mess up and have these perfectly imperfect human thoughts. The key is to acknowledge these thoughts and purposely and intentionally create good thoughts before the yucky ones sink in. Positivity does not come to fruition on accident. A grateful heart has to be on purpose. Here is how you can get there.
1. Pay Attention - Begin to listen to the thoughts you have and the words that come out of your mouth. When do you feel like you are complaining or thinking negative thoughts the most? I know, I know, no one wants to admit that they complain. I'm sure you never do! But, for the sake of this exercise, let's pretend you do every once in a while! Okay? ;)
2. Write It Down - Once you start noticing patterns in your angsty emotions, write it down. Figure out what triggers you have. Write down your pet peeves and the things that bother you the most.
3. Ask Why - Why do these situations, or items bother you? Do you have control over the situation? Is it that important to feel all the negativity of the event? Does it alter that way in which you carry out your day, your dreams and your future? Most likely, it doesn't.
4. Pick 3 Things - Once you acknowledge the situation and see that you are going there, you can choose a different path. You know what I mean. Right after the person, who is chewing their carrot so obnoxiously loud you want to make them sit in a totally different room, take a look at them and find 3 things you like about the individual. It's a true mind shift. I love the saying that explains it is so easy to find the dirt on someone, be the one who finds the gold in that person instead. Seem silly? Just try it.
Let me give you a personal example of what I do.
I'm the ONLY person in the house that changes the toilet paper when it is empty. My initial thought is what the frick? I do everything around here, blah blah blah! So, right at that moment, when my brain wants to go negative, I ask myself, is this a me problem or a them problem? Why should I try, with all my might and energy, to change someone else's silly problem? The only person we are able to change is ourself. So, at that point, I think about 3 things my husband and kids do well. Chuck always takes out the garbage. THANK YOU! Chuck always helps out with laundry. THANK YOU! Chuck always goes along with every wild dream I ever want to go after. THANK YOU! - Wow. At that point I realize how little that toilet paper matters. I simply pop the new roll on and it's all good.
This doesn't just work on the silly things either. It works on the big ones too. Try this for a day, a week, a month. Whatever you feel called to do. After all, no one wakes up and says, today I want to be grumpy and totally suck. By and large, we want to do better and feel better and care for one another. I believe that.
What do you do to have a grateful heart? I'd love to have more tips in my back pocket. I'm sure others would too! Share below!
With Love and Gratitude,