Gratitude – Not Just for Thanksgiving Anymore

Gratitude Edited

I hope everyone had a relaxing Thanksgiving.  But the truth is, most of you probably didn’t.  Many of my readers probably missed their children because it wasn’t their year for Thanksgiving (myself included).  Others, had them but they talked about “last year with _______, we did ______, and it was awesome”, while you smile politely and try to sound excited.  Lastly, there are the co-parents who have the shittiest deal, and have to swap halfway through the day.  These agreements are written by attorneys who obviously are not divorced, and do not know that seeing your ex halfway through the day and having to deal with children in transition sucks giant hairy donkey balls.  It all sucks no matter which of the above you were this Thanksgiving.

All that said, we don’t need a holiday to be grateful.  Besides, we celebrate the Natives assisting the Pilgrims in the month which has been assigned Native American Heritage Month (bet you didn’t even know we had one of those), in which we pretend all is well.  But, it’s like watching the Titanic movie, we know the damn thing sinks and we feel the same about Thanksgiving thinking, “run, they’re gonna take your shit!  Also, thanks for the corn.”

I know it’s hard, life is hard.  But, we can choose how we view it.  I feel like all I do is work and do chores.  What does that mean?  It means I’m employed.  I wash dishes because I have food to eat, and people to eat it with.  I do mountains of laundry and wash millions of tiny socks because I have two beautiful daughters.  I scrub out dog crates because I have companions that I don’t have to explain myself to and they are always happy to see me.  I have floors to mop because I own my own home and I want it to be well maintained.  I fall in the toilet at 4AM because I have a fabulous male friends who accidentally leave the seat up.

You don’t need to stand around a table and talk about what you are grateful for once per year while secretly being pissed when, “fuck, that’s what I was going to say.”  You can choose to be grateful for those you have even if it isn’t 100% of the time.  I’ve heard about gratitude journals but I’ve never been disciplined to keep up with one.  I simply make note that when my kids are upstairs screaming at each other, that I would never do without one just to stop the yelling.  The truth is, life is tough and as co-parents, we have a whole other set of rules and dynamics.  That said, we can embrace them and appreciate what we do have.  I don’t know about you, but I’d take those two girls 50% over 0% anytime.   

The Importance of Authenticity

 Car Edited

 We, as humans, want and need to be accepted.  We wear the styles we see, and stop wearing them when everyone else does.  We compare ourselves to others constantly.  This is perfectly normal and begins early in life.  However, there are times when you just have to be you.  As we’ve talked about before, your children need to know you have feelings.  They need you to be honest when communicating with them.  In addition however, they need you to be you.

This is where authenticity comes in.  Authenticity is not the “I just gotta be me” people, and it is not at the expense of others.  It is not breaking the rules or laws because you don’t like being told to do, but then pretend it is because you are being “real”.  Authenticity is not going to Starbucks every day just because everyone else does when you don’t even like their coffee.

So what is authenticity?  Authenticity is defined as real or genuine, not copied or false.  It is how you build a rapport with the people around you.  It is how you gain trust.  It is how you establish your unique personality even and especially when it differs from others.

I have a friend who blocks out what I’m saying, or at least files the information long enough to percolate my ideas into “their” ideas later.  They do the active “uh-huh” listening and then a month later, tells me about their great idea.  Worse, they sometimes repeat my lines and stories back me as their own.

I see the university stickers and stick figure families on everyone’s car.  Just a hint:  No one cares where you went to school or how many kids or cats you have…..just saying.  I adore my girls.  They are the light of my life, but no one else gives two shits that I reproduced.  I get that.

It seems no one has an original thought anymore.  This is usually caused by insecurity.  People want to be accepted and they don’t believe they are worthy.  Other times it’s that they are impressed by you.  As Charles Caleb Colton said “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery“.  We are flattered, now stop.

That Ford pictured above is mine.  I am a therapist who wears jeans to the office and I often have pink highlights in my hair.  I break out in thematic song every time a musical is mentioned because chances are, I have the score memorized.  My playlists on shuffle always makes my guests laugh, because there is such a ridiculous range of music.  My favorite flower cannot grow in the state I reside.  I can’t tell one designer from the other and I hate jewelry (no, my ears aren’t pierced).  I don’t think Channing Tatum is sexy because he reminds me of someone I would date’s cute little brother.  I can tell you which fork to use when, but avoid restaurants that make that skill necessary.  I go to a country bar weekly because I like friends, music, and beer, but don’t listen to country music.  I hate Starbucks and I have no idea why everyone likes Star Wars so much.  *GASP*   None of this makes me special, a rebel, or interesting.  It’s just me.  I like what I like because I like it, and I don’t like something because other people do.  I like trendy things and dorky things.  I’m me and I’m unapologetic about it.

Your children need to know you are you, and most importantly, that you love being you.  You having the confidence to love yourself is one of the best lessons you can teach them.  Self-love and self-care.  Further, once they get out of middle and high school where they are obsessed with blending in, they will branch out and develop into a self-assured adult.  One with an original personality that catches people’s attention and your child won’t care that they caught it.  They will love themselves and as such, love won’t need to be collected from others and more importantly, from the wrong sources.