What If You’re Thankful for You?

November is focused on fostering an attitude of gratitude, and I don’t have to scroll very far in my Facebook feed to see a friend with the status that starts “Day 30: thankful for…”

Although I didn’t participate in the meme, I love it when we’re mindful about giving thanks and when we choose to remember that we’re rich.

Now, gratitude certainly won’t stop when we slip into December later tonight, but these “Day 30’s” are serving as my reminder that November is at its end, and I find myself taking stock today. Did I give thanks for all of it? For home and hearth and health? I did, I think.

Except one thing.

It’s a week after Thanksgiving, and I have a persistent thought that pesters and pokes and won’t leave me alone.

See, it’s easy for me to be thankful for my messy, loud, horrible children. They’re my world.

And it’s easy for me to be thankful for Greg. I mean, sure, his steadfast, one-track mind doesn’t always let him notice the naked, bleeding, screaming child right in front of him, but he works hard, man, to keep this whole family ship afloat.

And it’s easy for me to be thankful for a home. And for food. And clean water. And indoor plumbing. And off-brand Spanx. And dry shampoo.

But what if I’m also thankful for me?

That’s the thought that won’t leave me alone. What if I’m thankful for me? 

I don’t know. Is that crazy? Totally nuts? Frightfully weird?

It’s just… what if, you guys?

What if I get invited to the Gratitude Ball? And what if I go? And enter as if I belong, announced at the door by the stuffy butler and everything?

What if I’m included? And not outside looking in? What if I’m not the but anymore, or the except for, or the not quite enough? What if I let myself in rather than list the reasons I should be left out?

And what if we do something radical like that? We mamas. Together and without apology.

What if we allow ourselves to be thankful for us the same way we’re thankful for our children? Or for shelter? Or for food?

What if we, just for today, forgive ourselves for being yelly or bitchy or consumed or spread too thin? What if, instead, we give thanks – noncritical, unequivocal thanks – for being us?

What if we let ourselves rest, for just a minute, from the ceaseless barrage of self-critique?

What if we nurture and soothe our aching souls? And tell our anxieties it’s okay, and we’re okay, and shhhh, we know you’re scared, but shhhh, there, there.

What if we compliment ourselves for our hard work? Without listing anything left undone.

What if we say,

Thank you, God — or thank you, Grandmothers, or thank you, Mystery, or thank you, Love — for this gift. That I am wild, and I am free, and I am, most of all, me, me, me.

And then…

Oh, and then…

What if we wake up tomorrow and do the same thing?

What if we practice radical gratitude every day without leaving ourselves out?

What if, mama?

What if we do?

Might we discover we’re worthy of love? And show our children by example how to love themselves, too?

……….

And so here’s the uncomfortable question. The bold and vulnerable risk. The triple dog dare. Will you share with us in the comments below what it is about YOU for which you’re grateful? 

……….

photo credit Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot at freedigitalphotos.net
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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
75 comments
  1. I am grateful that I am strong and smart and independent. I am currently half way around the world from my home. I traveled here alone. I have a strong hand shake and I can look someone in the eye and talk business. I am an ambivert (yes this is a thing) and I adapt to situations well. Strong when I need to, listen when I need to, polite when I need to. Thank you for forcing me to think and write about this. I should practice it every day.

  2. Thank you for this. I was praying the other night with my son he goes then I go and he said mom-you forgot you? What I replied? You, you forgot to pray for you. And he was right I often forget to pray fr e in gratitude and not need. Just me, I am enough. And I am grateful for the deep love I have to keeps me going when the days are hard and long-and slowly I’m learning to share some of that love for myself not giving it all away to my kids, husband, job, family. Sweet blogs like yours keep me motivated towards that goal!

  3. Goodness. I don’t know if I can do this! I just wrote and erased about four incomplete statements. Awesome…another thing to work on. 😉

  4. I am thankful that I know who I am. And I like me, even if I mess up or am crabby, I know I don’t stay that way forever. I can see beauty in the people around me and I can see it in me, too.

  5. I’m grateful that somehow, even when I’m exhausted, overwhelmed and/or terrified I can still manage to be strong. Or at least appear to be. I am also grateful that I have no problem with letting my inner child come out and play and not care who is watching as long as it makes me or someone else happy.

  6. Wow. Thanks for this. How did you know I just prayed with my little ones, and gave thanks for all those OTHER things, while regretting the yelling and the bitching and also knowing I didn’t spend enough time and attention with every one of them today? How did you know I came out to my dirty kitchen with the white board list of tasks, and sighed, oh THAT, THAT is important, WHY haven’t you gotten that done yet? How did you know my soul hurts but I don’t have time to acknowledge it, or brain-space to open that can of worms, or courage to look at the wounds and name them?

    OK, here goes. I’ll take the dare. I am thankful that I am strong and scrappy and stubborn and harder to kill than previously thought. I’m thankful that I’ve read and studied Scripture more throughout my life than I thought I did, ’cause lots of encouraging verses are popping into my head unbidden when I need them. I guess that’s the Spirit, not me. But I’m thankful for the times that I listen.

  7. I’m thankful that I’ve found my voice. I am a conflict avoider, but have strong opinions about the need for justice and compassion in our world. I’ve finally been pushed into acting on my opinions, by one more school shooting, by one more homophobic legislative act, by one more anti-refugee governor–I cannot be silent anymore. It scares me, but not as much as I thought it would.

  8. I’m grateful for my strength. I have got us through some bloody hard times, and man, I was strong. Lots of people don’t, and won’t ever, know about it, but I do, and I’m glad of that.

  9. I am thankful for my ..fly by the seat of my pants attitude. You know kinda the F it lets do it kind of spirit. It has gotten me into some trouble over the years but man have I had fun!

  10. I’m grateful that I have a sensitive soul, a generous spirit, a loving nature, and that I find a lot of fulfillment in serving others and taking care of business. And I’m not going to say the “even thoughs” and the “except fors” kinds of minimizing stuff that I often can’t stop myself from thinking and saying.
    Thank you for this, Beth.

  11. You posted this on my birthday – what an amazing gift! I’m thankful that I read this today…. After I totally messed up with one of my kids. I was unthoughtful and totally distracted as he gave me a super thoughtful and wonderful birthday gift. I was lamenting my screw up when I read this beautiful post! So…. I am thankful that I caught my inconsideration and apologized to my son. And also that I’ve raised such a thoughtful son/teenager, who graciously accepted my apology and told me it was ok.

  12. I am thankful for my resourcefulness and problem solving skills. They make it so that I can get through this imperfect often messy life. I am also thankful for my inquisitive curiosity that plays in such lovely harmony with my resourcefulness.

  13. I am grateful that I have a buoyant personality. I don’t know where I would be in life if I didn’t have the ability to see the positive side of things and keep on top of all the negative that happens in life.

  14. I’m thankful for my creativity that gives life to me and to those around me.

  15. I’m grateful for having the courage to stand up and say “this is NOT how I’m going down” and leaving a relationship of 13 years that had become a detriment to my children and my future.
    I’ve long touted how grateful I was for my wicked support system, for when I was ready to pull the trigger, more than 60 people reached out with “what can we do?”, and how grateful I was that my kids were so smart and strong, but I’ve never really said that I was grateful to me. Grateful for getting my own life back, grateful for shaking off the weight pulling us down, and grateful that I am strong enough, smart enough, and pretty freaking awesome enough to not only lead this pony show but do it with a touch of pizzazz. Grateful I am who I am.

    1. How did you come to this decision, Denise? I’m standing on the fence!

  16. I am in the league of deflecting compliments, too. I am even teased about it, and try to work on it- but why oh why is it so much easier to think about what I’m screwing up, have already screwed up, or will screw up in the future, than to acknowledge what I might be doing right? I would say, at least one good thing (even though it’s a two edged sword), is that I am compasssionate. I feel deeply for others, in their pain as well as their joy. It can consume a lot of emotional energy, but I am glad it is how I am made. Being able to carry someone’s burden and try to encourage them, or just walk along side them has enriched me as a person. Just don’t ask me about how messy my house is right now, and we’ll get along fine. 😉

  17. This is surprisingly hard. And not all that comfortable. Ask me to list all the stuff I am working on or dislike about me. Go ahead and ask! I’ve got the list if you’ve got the time. But what am I grateful for? It’s strength. I have this length of steel that runs right through me and holds me up when life gets really tough. And through that support of me, it holds my family together. All of us, at one time or another, have been through some physically and emotionally excruciating times and there I was, like a scarecrow, held up by that strength and hauling my family back to their feet with it. I am truly grateful for that.

    Phew! That was hard and now I will go back to hiding. 🙂

  18. […] On Teaching My Kids to Love Themselves: What if I’m thankful for me? […]

  19. Why is it so hard to ever say good thing about ourselves? I am so good at accepting while deflecting compliments.
    If someone says something like, “Wow you made these?” I’m ready with “Thanks, Haha, you should see my kitchen.” If someone says I look nice, it’s “Thanks, haha, it’s a wonder what a shower will do.” I can never just say thanks and accept it.

    The other day I got home after a long day of work and my son was scratching his head. And scratching it. I checked… yep, headlice. And the toddler, too. So out we went to pick up lice shampoo. I scrubbed two little heads, stripped all the bedding, did three loads of laundry, combed both of their very long, thick, curly heads of hair, and still did our nightly tradition of reading a christmas book before bed. After all that, we actually still had a good night. I didn’t yell at anyone or lose my patience at the monumental task of dealing with that unexpected problem. After they went to sleep, I let out a long sigh and a brave, rogue thought popped into my head out of nowhere. “I am such a good mom.” Even as I thought it, I couldn’t accept it. I thought of all the little things I did wrong all the time, the times I lose my patience…
    But I take it back. I am good mom! I am still proud of myself for managing that lice disaster without tears (mine or theirs!)

    1. I live in fear of headlice..isn’t that silly? I love my hair but headlice would love it more…long, thick and curls in ringlets…I think I would have to cut it to get rid of the lice, I know I did when I was little and got the lice from my best friend. And all the laundry….sigh…with three boys I already do so much. So…I am in awe of how calmly you dealt with that…IN AWE. It is basically one of my top five living nightmares. Right up there with housefires and injured children. Not even close to death, naturally….but STILL. lol

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