Having gratitude towards yourself is immensely important. No matter what condition your mind and body are in each day, whether you’re feeling high, or hitting a low, try to be grateful to yourself, for yourself. Compared to the ease of writing that, we understand it is bewilderingly difficult to do sometimes, or for some people, all of the time. But positive directives can actually be really encouraging, so we’re telling you again.
Put the “you” in thank you
Self-care talk is everywhere right now, but it’s still kind of a radical idea, especially for women, historically teased as vain or scolded as selfish for putting themselves first. The self-care trend may be shortsighted and tone deaf sometimes, let’s be real, but at its core is the very important notion that you (that’s you) are worth all of the gratitude you can find in yourself to give yourself. And yes, maybe that sounds like something on the back of a tea box, but we mean it. You matter, and it’s difficult, but be grateful to yourself, even if it’s only for a few seconds a day.
If you’re grateful to yourself, being grateful in general and to others will be a natural part of your life. So, this first way of having daily gratitude is simply the rebellious decision to say thank you like you mean it to yourself, even if you think it’s a bit silly. You may feel just a little lighter—you’ve probably owed this to yourself for a while.
The most straightforward definition of having gratitude. Think about what you’re grateful for, or maybe what’s been difficult for you in life, and pay it forward. Find an activist, nonprofit activist group, charity, artist, something or someone that aligns with your values or passions, (the Internet makes this so easy, but make sure to check reliable sources and do a little research first) and donate what makes sense to you. That could mean a monetary donation, a donation of your skills (many charities are in need of legal work, editing, photography, etc.), or if neither of those make sense for you right now, just spread awareness about them online or to your friends and family.
Your friends and family and distant acquaintances on social media are making cookies and art and poetry—and you see it. And maybe you even “like” it, but take a moment to actually write about it. Message them or leave a comment that’s thoughtful. It feels so good to know someone actually read your article or liked your drawing or is excited that you got that new job. Even if it’s someone you haven’t spoken to in years and you’re worried it might be awkward, you know what? If you mean it, it won’t be, and social media at its best is something we can use to connect, even for just a moment.
Try to be that annoying person who sees the spilt-coffee-mug-on-your-new-book half full. It’s hard, but just once a day try to flip around the small moments of awful that sprinkle daily life. Will you feel more grateful? Maybe. Will you feel less bad without those little surges of disappointment? Also, maybe.
Bah humbugs be gone
Take the opportunity to be extra grateful to people who do things for you. That can mean a kind word, eye contact and a smile, or a generous tip. Acknowledge the Uber drivers, baristas, bartenders, waiters, person-who-held-the-door-for-you’s we all encounter in our daily lives. You’re already trying to infuse your daily interactions with kindness, but it can be hard to keep it up when you’re struggling with bags and stressing about the holidays, so be intentional. Be that friendly stranger!