Gratitude is my Kool-aid

As I composed a text regarding people’s past pain, something popped up in my newsfeed that gave me pause.

A conversation recently reminded me of previous chats with someone who always decried what their parents did not do for them. Some people live in their past pain. They blame their parents or past relationships for how they interact in the world or for what they have neglected to accomplish.

There is no doubt that our primary relationships affect us in many different ways. However, I’ve always maintained that once you discover the problem, it’s up to you to correct the issue.

Someone once told me – if the kids get to 18 and they’re still alive, then the parents have done their job. As a parent, I say – if only it were that simple!

As a child, my parents did not do everything right. However, I think they did the best they could with what they were given. I survived. I moved beyond their lack and created a successful path.

As a parent, I tried my best to do everything in my power to make certain my children’s needs and desires were met while trying to teach them appropriate boundaries. No parent is perfect and I probably made mistakes. But my kids are pretty damn great humans!

Some people live in their pain. They live on their parents’ mistakes, blaming and crying foul, and using that as an excuse for their failures.

I feel they’re wasting their time, wasting their lives in this pain. Move forward. Move on. Get the help you need and become the person you want to be. All of our parents did the best they could given their own lack. It is up to us to learn from their mistakes and find what we need in this life.

Now – the post which gave me pause to rethink my position came from Jeff Brown.

The practice of empathy tells me I should heed his advice and allow those feeling the pain of their victimhood their own time frame. Emotions, in some theories, don’t have a timeline. When we are in pain, it’s hard to consider moving beyond it. It does take time.

I do have to ask – are we victims of our parents’ deficits?

One person told me they felt their whole life had been affected by their lack of a father. They believed their life would have been much different, much better had their father stuck around.

I said – what if he was abusive? what if he was an alcoholic? what if he was in and out of prison?

The person balked at my questions. They grew angry with my insinuation.

BUT – is it not true?

We idealize what we do not have. We think things would have been better had we had this or been given that. Life is never that simple!

Many people recognize and appreciate the hard work of their single mother or single parent instead of wishing for what they did not have.

I’m among those who live with and on gratitude. I do not and can not live in the past. Those who live in the past or live on the pain of their past can not move forward to a successful future.

Gratitude for what we have, for what the lack teaches us, helps us appreciate our life and our opportunities. Most of us wake up every morning healthy, able to see the blue skies (or grey skies as of late), and hear the birds singing. We are able to walk across the floor, flip on the lights, work and play. We may experience sadness, heartache, but these things teach us valuable lessons about ourselves and our lives – if we’re smart.

Gratitude, if you’re unaware, is the act of being thankful for those things we do have. If you’re new to the practice, keep a gratitude journal. Write down every morning or every evening (or even carry it with you) and log the gifts the day has given. Start recognizing what you have. Focus on you and not those around you who seem like they might have more, do more, be more. We don’t know others’ true stories or true feelings. We need to recognize that too!

2 thoughts on “Gratitude is my Kool-aid

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