Gratitude is something we hear talked about a lot, but when is the last time you consistently practiced it? I've caught myself numerous times taking things for granted, forgetting how blessed I am to be alive, have a loving family, a tribe of badasses, a roof over my head, nice clothes to wear, healthy food to eat, etc.
It's not that I don't appreciate those things, I truly do, but sometimes I forget to be grateful for all my blessings. Coming from a place of scarcity, I was always clawing and fighting for more. My self-worth came from my ability to work hard, hustle and grind. When I dropped out of high school at the age of 16, my mother and grandmother both told me I would never amount to anything without my high school diploma and college degree. When I became a single mom at the young age of 21, my mother and grandmother again were very critical and said I could never do it on my own and must marry the father. While those words hurt deeply at the time, I now know they were just scared for me and speaking their own limiting beliefs. But those words fueled me for years. It was "dirty fuel", but it lit a fire in me. I was bound and determined to prove them wrong and I did; I built a very successful 6-figure career in Corporate Training and Leadership with a GED and no college degree. However, it came at a cost.
While my focus was hell bent on proving them wrong, I never stopped to enjoy the journey. I was always aiming for my next move, but I was stressed out and overwhelmed. Why? Because there was never enough. I was never good enough and I didn't have enough nice things to show that I'd made it. It was just never enough. I needed more to prove myself.
Fast-forward to when my daughter moved out. I down-sized from a 1400 sq ft apartment to a 545 sq ft studio. It was time to purge, and boy was that therapeutic! I had to justify everything I was keeping and with that came a lot of letting go. Letting go of things that did not serve me that I had hung onto for far too long. It was quite an eye opening process.
The even bigger AHA moment was when I realized my beautiful studio was costing me so much more than $2,300/mo in rent. I was rent poor. I was having to work harder and hustle and grind even more just to afford to live there, which was cutting into my much needed personal time. Not to mention the people who lived there were not my kind of people. It was one of those places where no one says hello to you, not even when you're in the elevator together. For someone who says hello and smiles to everyone, that was awkward lol.
After learning these lessons, now I routinely ask myself, does this (person, job, thing, place, etc.) add value to my life? If yes, how so, can I quantify the value it brings? If not, is it time to let it go/move on?
The lessons learned? You can't force gratitude or abundance. You must be grateful for everything, big and small. This is why so many successful people practice gratitude daily. It truly does impact your life in immeasurable ways. Make it a habit to begin or end each day by writing down at least three things you are grateful for. And as for abundance, if you are striving for abundance with "dirty fuel", you will never truly achieve it. Abundance comes to those who are grateful. If you have a roof over your head, clothes to wear and food to eat, you need to recognize that you are already living in abundance. :)
John C. Maxwell wrote a great article in Success Magazine titled 6 Tips to Develop and Model an Abundance Mindset.
Here's to another week of living your life by design, not by default!