I was watching an episode of the Simpsons back in the early 90’s, Bart was really upset and said to Homer, “this is the worst day of my life.” Homer walked over to the troubled Bart, dropped down on one knee as if to console him, and in his infinite wisdom, said, “this is the worst day of your life so far.” That line has stuck with me for 20 years. The point Homer was trying to make is that the problems and situations we face are relative. This witty one liner actually has a very honest picture of life. Most people with teenagers would agree that there are days they would gladly go back to the diaper days. Those very days that they questioned how many more sleepless nights they could live through. The very days that just one more bottle, dirty diaper, or spit up could have sent them straight to the looney bin.
So what in the world do Homer Simpson and dirty diapers have to do with a healthy lifestyle? For me, everything.
Thanksgiving day millions of people reflect on what they are grateful for in their lives. This is a noble gesture but in my opinion, it should be done every minute of every day. While we are thankful for our homes and jobs, there is someone else being thankful for the first clean water they have drunk in a month. So I guess you could say that being grateful is really about having the proper perspective. It’s about seeing things clearly without the bias of a bad attitude.
Looking back, this was a huge problem for me. It was bigger than just not being grateful. I had gone so far to the other side of gratitude that instead of just being ungracious I was actually searching out everything that made me unhappy and bitter. I had dug a giant hole and had buried myself in bitterness, regret, and pity. What I didn’t realize is that I had set up the perfect environment for myself to become complacent about every aspect of my life. My weight, health, friends, family, and daily function had taken a back seat to what was really important to me and that was all the many problems I had and how bad I had it. I was consumed day and night about everything that could be better. The worse things got the more I complained. There were days I really didn’t even know if I would wake up the next morning and I don’t really know if I cared. So, I guess you can say that the lack of gratitude can be life threatening. I’m guessing this sort of thing happens with any addiction. Once you realize how bad your life is you start looking everywhere to get that “fix” to make you feel better. The fix is so temporary that you just keep needing more and more until the fix starts controlling your every decision.
You can’t possibly focus on becoming better at anything when you are full of bitterness and regret. You will dig a rut and stay there until you change your stinking thinking. The truth is even if you could, who cares? So great, now you’re lean, fit, and healthy but your still bitter which means the changes are nothing more than a facade and so shallow that you will likely revert back to you old habits. Here’s the good news, like anything else, gratitude can be learned, cultivated, honed, and mastered if you put your mind to it. I had to make a conscientious decision every morning that I woke up to be thankful. Nothing major at first, maybe just thankful for a cup of coffee. I would actually write down something I was thankful for in a journal I was keeping. I know it sounds corny but when it’s on paper its a thing not just an idea. The more I focused on what I was thankful for the less time my mind had to tell me how badly my life sucked. This idea is very similar to the food post I wrote (Diets are for the birds ). Here again, it’s not taking the bad out, rather bring good ideas in. Eventually the bad will be overtaken with the good and there won’t even be a need to remove the bad. The best part of the deal is that if you are grateful it is absolutely impossible to be bitter, unhappy, and full of self pity. Not sold on it? Try it, the next time you are feeling unhappy with some area of your life find something to be grateful for and write it down. If you’re still struggling take a trip to the VA hospital or a nursing home and spend some time with people that could use some company. I think you will find that your life isn’t quite as bad as you think and that Homer may have been on to something by recognizing that life, both good and bad, is really about perspective. At the end of the day we all need to live like we are grateful for our lives.
Train your body and you will see results, train your mind and you will have an attitude of gratitude.
“Eat plants, move your body. All ya got to do is a little more than ya did yesterday😉 ”
Until next time,