Gratitude Makes Me Happy.

Well it has been a few weeks since I have participated online in the Home Life Simplified Challenge (I have been kind of playing at home).

I love this weeks challenge of defining what makes you happy.

I took a moment to think about this challenge when Deb had set it, and instantly worked out what makes me happy, quite simply its gratitude, and being grateful.

There is a quote by Cicero that says

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”
When I first commenced my 365 moments of Gratitude Project  I had no idea how much the above quote would soon ring true in my life.
As I have said before, I was in a bit of a slump in my life, feeling a bit sorry for myself, and looking at all the things in life that I didn’t have, rather than focusing on the abundant amount of things that I could be grateful for.
Slowly I got into the groove of finding one thing to be grateful for each day, some days it feels like I could take many photographs, and while at one stage the thought of finding 365 things to be grateful for seemed daunting, I now know that I could easily find 3065 things, as our lives are filled with so many daily treasures that we sometimes just are too busy, or too blind to take notice of.
I can safely say that I am happier since commencing my project, that by being grateful, I have brought many other things into my life, the ability to take the time to enjoy life’s blessings on a daily basis.
I used to think that I would be happier if we had more money, I had a better job, bigger house, or more “things” in my life. I used to get upset about the things that did not work out for us.
On reflection of this project, I see that the things that I am most grateful for are mostly free. The love of my family, the smiles on my kids faces, friendship, nature, peace, a moment alone.
Once I started to take time to be grateful for all the little wonders in my life, I felt that I was starting to be blessed with more and more beautiful and amazing things in life. I realise that I wasn’t, it was just that finally I was being thankful for what I had, rather than regretful for what I didn’t have.
I still have dark moments, and bad days, I am only human after all. I am not sure that everyone who meets me may refer to me as a “happy person”, but inside I feel happier, I feel more at peace.
And I have learnt that no matter how crappy a day is, there is always at least one thing, one person or one moment within it that you can be grateful for.
I have also learnt that happiness does not just come and land in your lap, you need to acknowledge it, and find all the things that make you happy in life.
 After all, life is way too short to be spent miserable.
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Unapologetically Me

Throughout the course of my life, I have been belittled, maybe just as much as everyone else, at times it just feels like a lot.

People have called me weird, annoying, freak, waste of space, a mistake.

Some have put down my mothering skills, purely because they are different to theirs.

I have been called many a name, insulted, put down, trampled on, and on more than one occasion had the words “I hate you” spat at me.

(image courtesy of www.kindovermatter.com)

If I am going to be honest, the words have often cut me, deep inside, made me feel worthless and unloved. After one such bout of insults, I ended up seeking solace in a psychologist, I really thought there was something wrong with me, something I needed to change. Why would so many people put me down otherwise?

She taught me that as a person, we each have the right to stand up for ourselves, to have our own values and beliefs, even if they differ from others.

The haters have not seemed to come out to play for a while. I have had the odd comment thrown my way, but I have chosen to brush it off. I finally realize that some people’s issues lay within themselves, not the person they are attacking.

A personal vow to myself to become more assertive has also helped significantly. I did not want my children growing up thinking it was ok to treat me like dirt seeing others did.

Then yesterday occurred, an innocent update on my Facebook profile led to what could almost be described as all out war. What was meant to be a positive outlook at a crappy situation was turned into an absolute slander against me as a person.

For once I didn’t let the hurts cut me like they normally do, I finally realize that some people just want to hate on others, I don’t really know why, but it happens.

What happened next absolutely touched my heart. A solider of supporters came to back me up, friends, old and new stood up for me as a person, sent me emails, texts, and called me for support. I was touched to the core of my soul.

One lovely friend whom I haven’t seen for a while rung me purely to just say that she wanted me to know that I was awesome. I told her I thought she was pretty awesome too!

When an old primary school friend rung to see if I was ok, I took the opportunity to organise a long needed catch up with her.

Finally I see me for who I am. I am not everyone’s cup of tea, there will always be bound to be at least someone who does not click with me. Life would be rather boring after all if we were all exactly the same.

I am not perfect, I have had to apologise for hurting others before, and I am sure that I will have more things to apologise for down the track.

Photo courtesy of One Little Picture Photography

Photo courtesy of one little picture photography

This is me, Alicia, Im a Mother, a Wife, a Friend, a Woman.

Life has brought me many experiences and lessons that have moulded me to be the person I am today.

It has taken me 31 years, but finally I am comfortable in my own skin, comfortable with the little quirks, traits, things that make me who I am.

I will apologise for many a thing in life, for the wrongs I do, I will try my best to make them right.

But one thing I will never apologise for is being me.

Gratitude and Acceptance

I have a confession, I have self diagnosed myself with “Facebook Envy”, it is the disease that occurs when you constantly read friends facebook updates, or see pictures of them doing things that you wish you were able to do.

I once read a quote that said:

“Envy is wanting what someone else wants,

Jealousy is not wanting them to have it”

I can safely say  that it is envy that stirs up in side of me. I certainly don’t begrudge others for what they have.

What is the main things that I become envious of? One would automatically think that I am envious of large amounts of money, lovely homes, material things, when in fact it is the family support that other parents get that I get envious of.

We have both of our families living in the same town as us, our in laws living only 200m up the road, but we rarely get any hands on help from them.

I don’t want to go into it, I know I will come out seeming nasty, and after all I realise that no one sits down with their parents and in laws before becoming a parent themselves and says “Hey listen, we are going to try for a baby, you will be there to help us in the rough times, give us a break when we need it, or an extra set of hands right? Just checking”.

Something inside me thought that our children would be raised by a community, the community being our family.

My Mum is busy and stressed in raising her 15-year-old granddaughter by herself. The 50 year age gap between them causes a fair bit of friction, and I am often the one offering to take Jazmine for them to have some time apart, or listening to Mums parenting issues as she tells me what has been happening of late.

My in laws are probably best described as not being really maternal, I don’t doubt that they love their grandchildren, but they just are not fussed on the hands on stuff.

While the green-eyed monster comes out to play when I see pictures of couples embarking on child free, romantic weekends, or even getting to go on a date night without having to pay a babysitter to look after their kids.

I get that tinge of envy when I hear how someone was sick, and their Mum came over with a pot of soup, sent them to bed and took care of the house for the day.

Even the simple act of hearing a friend got their washing hung out for them, or seeing the neighbour over the back fence have her Mum come play with her son while she can run some errands.

In actual honesty, as a Mum, I just really sometimes want to be Mothered myself.

While I have been practising gratitude for all the great things in my life, and have been taking the time to be thankful for all the amazing blessings I have, I have found that I have still been finding myself upset and child like in the things that I wish I had.

Only recently I have realised what I was missing in my life, quite simply it was Acceptance.

Acceptance in the fact that things are like they are, some things simply cannot be changed, no matter how much you wished they were different, or wanted things “easier”, they are simply just as they are.

Finally the fog is lifting, and I can see it all a little clearer, I can not promise that the  envy will be cured for good, but I can say that I realise my wish did come true.

I wanted my children to be raised by a community, well they are, the community may be a little smaller than expected, but it is a team none the less.

As a family of 4, we are creating our own little community, our own team, and that is something that many people may have their own little envy over.

Breaking my Butt, but not my Spirit

Last week I had a mini melt down.

We have loads going on in our life at the moment, and while I can see it is certainly not anywhere near as much as some families have to deal with, the load had begun to weigh me down.

I stopped for a moment, to think of the things that were causing me a bit of tension, the feeling of being uneasy, and the list was longer than expected.

Between family crisis, renovations, our daughter starting school (and suddenly not wanting to be there anymore, as well as me really missing her), job issues, zero family time, budgeting, Narcissit’s , and a few other issues added into the works, I realised I had at least a dozen little and not so little dramas on my hands that were amounting to a big load of pressure.

I felt drained, sucked of energy, completely zapped. I had that niggling feeling that I needed to slow down, take time to just breathe.

The lovely Chelle from Getting Sorted Each Day As It Comes has been open enough to share her experience with anxiety in the past, something I, as well as others have been grateful for, and something I have been able to relate to.

After breaking down in tears, overwhelmed and over it all, I was not able to ignore the signs anymore, I knew it was time to slow down, or burn out from exhaustion.

That night, as I lay in bed, my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest, If I didn’t know better, I may have thought I was having a heart attack. I felt out of control, scared, and overwhelmed.

“Breathe” I told myself “Just breathe”, and as I took slow, deep breaths, the fear of the anxiety attack I was having subsided.

I needed to slow down, to just be.

It was difficult, in an ideal world that would involve chilling in bed with a book, and just taking it easy, but there was a huge shift at work to go to the next day, and a weekend of looking after my 2 energetic children by myself. I just told myself to take it as slow as I could, given my situation.

I was finally starting to feel a bit more like myself, more calm, in control, and relaxed…………. then I had my accident!

I slipped over, landing on my bottom, and having the full force of my fall shatter throughout my entire body, leaving me winded, and in pain to simply walk.

I had to drive home afterwards, with a car full of groceries, and 2 kids to look after. Once I got home, I thought I was manoeuvring the car correctly into the garage………. but I was wrong!

Suddenly I heard a big crunch, I knew I had hit the garage door.

I straightened up, parked the car, got out and saw a huge scratch across our bumper bar.

What did I do?

I started laughing, loud, uncontrollable laughter. Kiara asked why I was laughing, what was so funny? I know realise Mummy may have looked a bit manic in her little eyes.

My answer?

“I really don’t know sweetheart, I think that sometimes you have the choice between laughing and crying, and right now I am just going to laugh”

It is now 3 days on, my back and bottom is still sore (thankfully not as sore as it was), life is still full of challenges, speed bumps, and moments that stop us in our tracks.

I realise I am still not healed enough to participate fully in my dance class tonight.

But you know what? I will dance again, that’s all that really matters.

Last week I got overwhelmed, and that’s ok.

I allowed small minded comments to hurt me, and that’s ok.

I felt lost, confused, and drained, and that’s ok.

I will pick myself up, dust myself off, and get ready to start afresh.

Life, I have something to say to you:

You may have broken my butt, but you have most certainly not broken my Spirit!”