Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas? Hanukkah?
Bet you didn't.
I don't know about you, but I often feel a little letdown after gifts have been opened, tried on, toyed with. This feeling settles in quickly after I take in the scene of strewn gift bags, wrapping paper and errant bows.
What just happened here and why do I feel empty inside?
It can be easy to lose our grounding during the holidays, especially when it comes to gift giving and getting, which tends to get a lot of time and attention.
I can get lost in, “A Panini maker? Did that really scream ‘Wendy’ to you?”
And, “I really thought he’d like that! Ugh.”
Or, “Did I give her enough?” mingled with this weird mixture of guilt and anxiety.
What the heck?! This is what it’s about, right? The Spirit of giving, and gracious receiving! Jingles! Faces alight with rapture as they take in their new slippers or Peloton bike (sorry, couldn’t resist).
When this letdown invariably comes, there’s something I can do.
Put on my Gratitude Goggles.
They look as good on me as the onion goggles we gave my mom for Christmas this year. ;-)
Seriously, my Gratitude Goggles help shift the scene as if I’m looking at a virtual reality picture and the hidden image inside suddenly reveals itself.
What do I see instead?
A beautiful mess. Signs of togetherness, of childhood in motion. Of caring. Lessons learned. Time spent thinking about me and others. Family traditions. A warm home. Good intentions, good fortune.
And maybe a pair of PJs that will bring me comfort all year long.
And I go from empty and meaningless to heart full.
What do YOU see when you put on Gratitude Goggles?
And before you roll your eyes, bear in mind: this is not a Pollyanna exercise, reserved for those who have “everything” and just don’t appreciate it fully.
Whether you are opening gifts with friends or family, or are alone at home; whether life is raining goodness on you or is kicking you in the pants with obstacles and hard times, there is ALWAYS something we can see through the lens of Gratitude or Appreciation.
Not because we SHOULD, but because this can be an antidote to poison in our minds.
During hard times, our Gratitude Goggles can feel like they weigh a TON. Lifting and putting them on like an act of HEROISM.
And that’s what it is.
You’re being your own gratitude-muscled hero and choosing a new way of looking at the situation. When we do this, our hearts can become lighter. More creative options appear for us.
But, easier said than done, right? Shifting our minds from well-worn paths, from black and white certainty, is a SUPERPOWER.
And no one can do this for us. Gratitude Goggles are a stocking stuffer you have to gift yourself.
Gratitude and appreciation are two of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal when we’re feeling down, bitter, lacking, or empty of meaning.
They can be TOUGH to pull out of the toolbox. (This is normal and why we have to practice using them, and plug them in at night).
Appreciation may be easier to find than gratitude, especially if we’re feeling particularly unhappy with circumstances.
Appreciation can take us from triggered to at least neutral and can be as simple as “I appreciate the blue sky today, the feel of the hot water on my skin in the shower, the smile from my neighbor, this cup of tea….”
When we feel like or see a “mess,” we don’t have to wait for someone to gift us with these goggles -- they are MAGIC and appear when called.
And they’re yours, for FREE, with no strings attached this holiday season.
Try on your own special pair of Gratitude Goggles. These can be “imaginary,” or feel free to actually put on some kind of goggles or glasses to put you in the mood. ;-)
Say out loud 3 things you’re grateful for, or can appreciate. If you’re feeling down, think more strategically about how gratitude could be used as an antidote to what ails you.
Tonight, before bed and EVERY NIGHT, write down or say aloud 3 things you’re grateful for and begin to build muscles that will make finding gratitude an easier lift in the future.
The strength to shift your perspective is always within reach! Keep building this superpower and life will never look the same again.