Written by Janelle Holden
I’m a life coach. Which means I help people feel better about their lives for a living. It’s my life’s work. So what I’m about to say in this post might surprise you.
If I were to broadly stereotype the life coaches I know (including myself) I would say there are 3 rules we live by:
1. Be positive - After all, most of our suffering starts from the negative self-talk spiraling through our heads every day. The things we say to ourselves makes Grendel’s mum in Beowulf look nice by comparison. So, it feels better when we can break that endless yammering up a bit with a few positive thoughts about life and how things are actually going pretty well for us.
2. Be purposeful - Know what you want and know why you want it and stop saying “I don’t know” about your life. You always know.
3. Be grateful – Do just a quick search on gratitude on google and you’ll find that gratitude has the power to heal, change your life, and expand your relationships. Whether you’re counting your blessings, or noticing small joys, or saying thank you every day, the practice of being grateful for what you have will make life seem fuller, richer, and more meaningful.
But here’s another rule to live by ….
4. Be honest - One of the most freeing and powerful things I’ve learned in my life is to be honest about my own feelings (even if they might disturb someone else).
Trying to be “the good girl” all the time … sucks. And living up to the shoulds going on in my own head is very, very tiring.
This morning I woke up thinking about Thanksgiving and all the things that I feel like I should be thankful for, but I’m really not.
You know, the standard things you say at the Thanksgiving table to make you feel like you’ve done your penance for living in a first-world country. Like, “I’m grateful for the food I’m about to eat (even though you your neighbor’s jello salad looks gross) or “I’m grateful for friends and family” (even though your family drives you crazy and you’re counting the seconds to when you can sleep in your own bed again).
I was all set to write about the power of gratitude and what I’m really thankful for when it hit me that ingratitudes have been just as valuable to me (if not more).
After all, when I was ungrateful for my work I left a really good job to start a successful business that was more fulfilling. When I was ungrateful for where I lived I moved across the country to experience clean air, clean water, and wildlife again. When I was ungrateful for friends who brought me down, I found new ones who lifted me up.
If you’re having a hard time feeling truly grateful this Thanksgiving, here’s a fun and freeing assignment that will likely make you laugh out loud.
Make a list of the things in your life that you’re truly not grateful for and you wish were different. The things you would never say at the Thanksgiving table, but you wish you could.
Here’s my example: “I’m not grateful for overcooked brussel sprouts.”
And then make a commitment to change this one area of your life to something that you could be truly grateful for.