Years ago, I read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are and began keeping a journal of daily victories and blessings.
Some days, I really had to search, I’m not gonna lie.
And I may have had more than one entry that perhaps sounded a tad snarky, like, “Only had to change my clothes three times today,” (think toddlers alongside babies with projectile reflux). But then, I’d laugh at myself and the ridiculousness of my calling these victories, find the thanks in the ability to see them as wins, and the cynicism subsided…somewhat. I’m still a work in progress, after all. Indeed, fighting against my self-deprecating, dismal nature is a victory in and of itself. A worthy task.
Keeping this journal, which Voskamp calls a “Eucharisteo journal” really did change the way I began to think about my day.
At least, it helped me continue on the journey my mother started with me long ago. Mom says she read The Strong-Willed Childbecause of me, and I know she fought hard for my natural pessimism to be outshined by a sunnier disposition, albeit somewhat manufactured at the outset. (Fake it til ya make it. Smile until you’re happy.) My grandmother would even respond to me, I remember quite often, with, “OH! That’s a sad story. Quick, tell me a happy story now!”
As an adult, though, friends have confided that they don’t believe I’ve had a problem with pessimism, because I usually find the sunny side to their troubles.
My trained response, now involuntary, seemed to be unintentionally reserved for others and not so much a tool I would naturally practice for or on myself. Keeping the journal coached me to highlight the victories over the struggles and become mindful again of my control over my outlook.
I’m sure not everyone struggles with finding their own victories or counting their own blessings.
I truly believe we all stand to better ourselves by writing down those affirmations, whether blessings given to us or victories we’ve fought hard for and thanking God for each and every one of them, even the ones we enter into caustically at first. Some days we will only have “the laundry is done…for now” on the list; but, recognizing that we are indeed thankful for even the smallest of details has a way of changing the way we look at all the things.