how did your valentine's day go? I know some celebrate and some don't. We usually go out on a date after valentine's. Hats off to all you creative moms out there. I just buy candy that is already nicely wrapped, write a short note and put it in a basket for my children. This is the last year I had all of them in my house together. Just today I helped my 25 year old son unpack in his new home. More about that another time. I'm thrilled for him and so thankful. Thankful. It is not always easy and I for sure was not always good at it. There was a time when this 25 year old made my heart ache. It is in those times when being thankful for the person that seemingly hurts you is so transformational. Same goes for your spouse. Your sister in law. Your mother. Your brain probably goes like this: " But he hurt me" - " She is so mean" -"He is so disrespectful" -"I can't stand her"..... So why be thankful when they are behaving so badly? Because my friend, it is so freeing. Once you exchange your expectations with appreciation, your world will change. I know. I experienced it. And I get to witness it again and again in my clients. Part of their "homework" is to find and write down 3-5 things DAILY that they are thankful for in their spouse. Now we are talking couples who are quite annoyed at each other and are not exactly in love. This exercise helps focus your brain on the good that is right there. And what we focus on grows, right? I wish I had known that years ago, when I focused on my spouse's shortcomings. Yes, what I focused on grew. Even though I prayed my heart out. I was completely focused on what was wrong, what was not good, what was not according to the latest marriage book I had read,....You get the idea. Now we are talking years of learning and training my mind to think differently. I am stubborn, you know? I understand now that I was in victim mode and I got one of my human needs met through this. It was the need for recognition. Especially in christian circles, you always find a listening ear for your troubles and people are willing to pray for you, you poor thing. Well, if you know me now, I am no longer 'a poor thing', I am much more confident in my role as a wife and mother. So I'm sharing one of my success routines: Every morning when I wake up, and my brain wants to go to my to do list and the things that were upsetting the day before, I redirect it. Its like this Pandora box of trouble is just waiting for you and when you open your eyes it's in your face! Right? So I redirect my brain to thankfulness. Now it is a routine, so it doesn't take much of my energy anymore. It's my new default. I start with gratefulness to God, then my husband, my 6 children, and recently I added myself. But that's another story. When you start your day being grateful for your spouse, it sets the day up for more success. And yes, you can find 3 things to be grateful for. Does he go to work? Doe she take good care of the kids? Does he laugh at your jokes? Does she greet you with a kiss? Does he clear the snow in the driveway? Doe she listen to me talk about my work meeting? Does he drive our family to our vacation destination? Is he kind to my mom? Does she play with our children? Does he support my dream? ...You can come up with many more. I know you can. Being thankful for your spouse is huge. Try it and let me know how it goes. Small changes like this, implemented every day, will certainly have a compound effect on the overall health of your relationship.
The Webster definition of thankful is :
Being conscious of benefit received.
I like that. Cause it says received. You already have it. Open your eyes to it. Be conscious of it. Speak gratitude over it. And see the world change in front of your eyes.
You are loved. Deeply loved. Loved beyond measure.
Until next time,