GRASS AND GRATITUDE
by Jayna Haney
It happened again. At the holidays, it can grab hold of you and not let go. Uh? I know I'm talking crazy but it really is true. What? Okay, I'll explain...
It started with opening up a holiday newsletter from a friend of mine. She and her husband and two kids just moved to a smaller town north of Houston and live the perfect life. I'm glad for my friend, but it really made me start wishing. I wish I wasn't divorced. I wish I could just pick up and move. I wish I had made better decisions.
Then comes the wanting. I want to just move to a small town. I want to have a "normal" family instead of a stepfamily. I want to have her perfect life.
Then, the lack settles into my bones. By that time, I feel so bad about myself, my life and my choices, I am downright depressed. How long did all this wishing, wanting and lack take to get me from happy to feeling depressed- 30 seconds maybe! It is important to honor (and not shove) feelings of sadness, lack, etc. but don't stay there.
There are two lessons I have learned about wishing, wanting and lack:
First, Gratitude. Wishing, wanting and lack strikes fast and furiously (anybody out there know what I am talking about?) especially at holiday times. Gratitude is the answer. But you have to practice it.
Many years ago before I divorced, I read the book "Simple Abundance". It talks about being grateful for the simplest of things- sheets on your bed, food in your stomach, flowers, trees, etc. Make a list of 5 things everyday and write them down. When I am in lack, I first just tell myself it is okay to have those feelings. But then...if I turn my attention toward making my list in my head or on paper, it helps a lot. First, I list my sheets on the bed, my family, my Mom, etc, and before you know it, I have a lot more than 5. I can even count things like Suduko, laughing, my favorite pair of shoes, good sleep, etc.
All the sudden, I am no longer in Lack. I can see the good things in my life again. My life is just fine! But I have to intentionally look for good things - and see them again. And it works.
Second, Grass. That grass that always looks greener on the other side isn't. It is never greener. That's right- Never. We spend a lot of time looking at everyone else around us (which starts the wishing and wanting.) But I've learned that there are no perfect families or lives of any kind anywhere. Everyone has stuff in their life that you wouldn't want. You wouldn't want their life if you knew about them.
For me, it hit home the year that a college friend of mine lost her husband and 3 children in a car wreck. Tragic. And here I was complaining about my life. My single parent life with 2 children, job and money stress, trying to figure out what the heck I was doing- It looked really, really good at that moment. I had my kids, my life, my future, and all those other things on my gratitude list that make me happy.
My wish for you: Find the green of your grass (and keep finding it) and be grateful!
Jayna Haney works with single parents and stepfamilies to create satisfying lives and healthy families with programs, strategies and tools designed especially for them. Jayna is passionate about her work - having been both a single parent with two children, and now, part of a stepfamily. Author, speaker, educator and coach, Jayna and her husband of 8 years, Mike, live in Houston and have a lot of fun with their four kids, ages 12 to 15.
You can learn more about Jayna and The Bridge Across at www.thebridgeacross.com.