How I Know Gratitude Works
Y’all KNEW another Gratitude post was coming! You had to know. I talk/blog/post/pump/preach all this Gratitude stuff for a simple and solid reason. Dawg… my homie, it works. Lookahea Gurl, I ain’t lying. To my Kings and Queens, the brothers and sisters in the struggle vs. chronic illness and autoimmune disease, I throw myself upon your attention and beg that you lend me your eyes. (LMAO! I enjoyed writing that line myself. Felt like Thomas Paine or somebody from the American Revolution.) But for real though, Gratitude works. I’ve gone through several stages of healing to stall and combat the progression of Multiple Sclerosis but this; the intentional practice of stating and recognizing what I’m grateful for is the most impactful. I open my eyes a few days a week and the first thought is NOT “what is hurting?”, it’s “Damn. Okay. What is something NEW I’m grateful for?” The effects of the latter are miraculous. I’m more present, patient and manage pain better. My energy is higher because I’m starting my day with activities I’m passionate about. I could go on but surely you get it, starting the day with Gratitude has definitive mental health benefits.
Gratitude is the FIRST word of my mantra GAP, Gratitude, Attitude, Passion. I’ve written about how I wield my mantra to crush self-defeating talk and negative thoughts. It’s been two years since I began that practice (the post is called How to Stay Positive When Things Are Tough and I’ve linked here) and I still use it. Acknowledging what I’m grateful for has other benefits that I didn’t foresee. One, being unashamedly grateful has changed my energy and vibe. Once upon a time, people avoided interacting with me because I was fiercely defensive of my space. I had a small circle of friends and no associates. I demanded respect from others and made sure to communicate my displeasure through body language, voice inflection and pointed conversational topics. No longer. My commitment to expressing Gratitudes, open and authentic, sparks strangers to speak. Yes, what I’m saying is that even random colonizers are digging my energy! How do I know this? Folks, you wouldn’t believe how many different people compliment me and open dialogue with “OMG! Wow! I love your energy and outlook!” Can I prove it? Yup, walk me through a Wal-Mart and peep game. I’m using Wal-Mart because it’s the rudest place I can conjure right now. 🙂 Is it repeatable? I think so. Matter fact, I know so because I’m getting better with this. Thank you. I appreciate it. Lovely day. Good job. All this sends out good vibe, good energy and makes people feel good. In the dark, cold bullshit world of Multiple Sclerosis, da lil handicapped homie NEEDS to cultivate as much good as he can.
I’ve bragged my entire life that I don’t win a doggone thing. Ever. Ask my potnas and family. I have NEVER considered myself lucky. True story, I don’t buy lottery tickets, scratch offs, shoot dice, hit the casino, put a few dollars on the big game, grab a Super Bowl square, none of it. Nope, ya boi ain’t cheap either; evidence in the shoe collection, tattoos, spoiled kids and house. I just don’t do the whole luck thing. Hopefully, you’re picking up what I’m putting down. That has changed the last six months. It started with finding the exact amount of money necessary in a sock drawer, on accident. I literally was in tears over a $100. Whatever homie, I’m handicapped, sick, unemployed, got kids, bills, no healthcare, etc. Sooooo, I had just finished some light yoga/meditation, started crying again, opened sock drawer for socks and a C-note was stuck to the socks. I stopped crying long enough to give thanks; then, sped off to pay my utility bill before it was cut off. Few months later, I wasn’t crying or nothing but I was pretty bummed about $100 I needed again. No lie, needed like $98.96 to pay for a bill, online. Guess who go a mysterious C-note extra in his paycheck? And it hit THAT day? Me, the lil handicapped homie! I mentioned strangers earlier? Real talk, someone slid a hundred to me just because they felt I needed it. A STRANGER! Yes, well, obviously he was a baller but still… ME? I’m not done. That morning, I was a hundred bucks short of new tires soooo… Am I a lucky guy? I don’t know but I won on 2 scratch offs during this time too. Neither scratch-off was mine, I just scratched them. Both times, the person won the little $5 and laughed about needing $5. Lucky. Perspective. Neither. Either way, I’m incredibly grateful to even be able to share the stories!
I like myself more. I see my own worth despite rocking this incurable, autoimmune disease that will eventually leave me a talking, blogging, writing vegetable dependent on others for food, water and changing my diapers. I didn’t before but I see it now. That is the power of being grateful. I’m putting systems in place to hold my own children accountable for being grateful as well. They have Gratitude Journals now and I check them regularly, discuss it with them and walk them through the process. Even my repertoire of openings and ice-breakers, I include asking others, “Whatcha grateful for?” On social media, I initiate Gratitude Challenges because I dig this that much. Gratitude. It absolutely f*cking works.