The toilets were overflowing onto the floor. My newborn daughter was crying because her tummy ached. My oldest daughter couldn’t reach a book off the top of her shelf and needed it “right now.” My wife wanted to know if I could fix the toilets or if we needed to call the plumber.
Years ago I would have flipped my lid. Too much going on at once, and I would have shut down. Instead I was calm, collected and at total peace. My house was crumbling and everyone needed me at that moment, pulled in every direction, yet I wouldn’t rather be any other place on earth. I smiled to myself and turned off the water to the toilet, grabbed gas drops for the baby and then walked upstairs to find the book my daughter wanted. Then I called a plumber, and another, then another before someone would finally agree to come out to our house at 11pm.
I was tired, dirty and frustrated, yet totally at peace and content. My attitude was one of gratitude. If I have learned anything being a parent is that there is always another disaster around the corner, and it’s up to me to react to it in a way that causes the least amount of friction for myself and others. These days I am calm, collected, and gracious for the moments I do have, good and bad. I’ve learned that it’s all a matter of perspective. I’m honored my daughter calls upon me to grab the books on the high shelf, that my wife trusts my judgement when our toilets are spewing sewage, and that I can help my newborn rest easy and lull her back to sleep.
It could have been anything, not just the toilets, but our reactions can make or break the situation for everyone. Not only are we an example for our family, but we owe it to ourselves to keep a positive mental attitude for our own health, wellbeing, and sanity. My toilets might have been broken, but there is not place I’d rather be, with any other people, ever.
It has taken me quite some time, but when I count my blessings instead of paying attention to the problems, I find I can live a much happier and fulfilled life. Something might always go wrong, but things also always can go right. I am thankful for my family, our health and that we have a roof over our heads. We might not have every material item that the world has to offer, but we have each other and that is more than enough.
Tips on keeping an Attitude of Gratitude
1. Live in the moment.
Don’t worry about yesterday, or tomorrow. Stay focused on this very minute. We can’t change the past, we can’t predict the future, but we can control the present. Focus on what’s important in this moment and address it accordingly.
2. Remember that you are the master of your own destiny.
Our reality is created by our thoughts and feelings about life. What we believe of our world becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. This can be good or bad, so keep that in mind. Happy people live happy lives.
We can’t control our circumstances, but we can control our reactions. With this in mind we can master ourselves and our destiny.
3. Believe in yourself.
It doesn’t matter what others say or do, we have the power to mold ourselves into anthing we’d like. Our appearance, our past, people’s opinions, none of them define you unless you let them. We can be whomever we want to be and its important to choose to be a person whom is content with life, and if you aren’t yet, be the person that is willing to work towards that goal.
4. Maintain a positive perspective.
Life is all about perspective. Some people have more than you, other have less. Focus on the abundance of great things you do have, not the things you don’t. Don’t focus on material things, delight in the love you share with others, and all the joyous times you’ve experienced. Focus on the positive, and dismiss the negative.
If you focus on the things that you DO have, it will always be more than enough.
5. Love yourself.
Everything you want and need, you already have and are. There is nothing outside of you that can complete you or make you happy, it’s already inside of you. Explore your emotions and sift through the layers society has put on you to find the person you are inside. Take time to realize that you are doing a great job, that you are a great person, and that you deserve happiness. The foot you put forward into life is also how people will react to you. Demand respect, love and appreciation from others, as much as you demand it from yourself.
Not only are you good enough, but you are more than good enough. Love yourself, accept yourself, trust yourself and be proud of who you are.
I wish you all the best, and hope you are living life with an attitude of gratitude!