The Gratitude Project is an attempt to shake loose the bonds of a consumer-driven, entitled life, and become a more thankful and centered person. During the next 365 days I will be intentionally transforming myself (with lots of help) by finding new ways each day to be less self-centered and thankful. Each month I am going to take on a bigger project to challenge myself. I’ll be blogging about it the whole way.
One thing about thankfulness: One might think that it would make you more aware of yourself than ever, and in a way it does. But even more than that, it makes you more aware of others. One quickly tires of thinking about the stuff there is to be thankful for, and then it isn’t a short hop until you’re thinking about the people in your life who matter a lot more than the “stuff.” Once you are focused on being thankful for people, you start finding yourself trying on a whole lot of proverbial moccasins. Sometimes, that gets sticky. Some peoples moccasins are filled with stuff that hurts your feet.
I wrote a thank you card today to my manager at the store. I feel really badly for her with the upcoming changes that are happening at our little business (I can’t say much more now). It is pretty sad that for many of my co-workers there, that store is a gigantic part of their life, and now all of that is about to change. In some ways I empathize with them. But it is also sometimes a kick in the butt that we need in order to make changes that might be good for us in the long run.
I have found that one side effect of trying to be more thankful toward people is that I have more natural empathy toward them. I am not really naturally that empathetic a person. Although, I really debate back and forth on that. On the one hand, I tend to be more of a “lift yourself up by your bootstraps” thinker. I try not to be too much like that, but it is always in the background. But on the other hand, if someone tells me that I have hurt them, or that they are upset about something (even if it has nothing to do with me) I will think about it continually in the back of my mind.
I know several of my teens are having sexual identity issues. I hate that. I hate that they are in a world that has made sexuality such an in-your-face issue, and yet more confusing than ever. I also hate the fact that God has somehow been invited out of the dialogue. It must seem like I am digressing, but after a conversation tonight with one of them, that is all I can think about. I don’t know if “The Gratitude Project” has made me more empathetic this way, or just made me more aware of being this way. I am confusing even myself now.
In other news, I’m really mulling over what to do about my monthly project for September. I have an idea, but I don’t know if it will work, and I don’t want to jinx myself.