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.
I’ve been working hard at this most of the week, although I must admit I didn’t stay with the program really well most of Friday. There have been a couple accomplishments that I’ve been pretty proud of.
First, I realized that I do a really bad job of writing letters and encouraging people. I don’t want to be that way. I’ve decided that I am going to write more thank-you cards and letters of encouragement. I did one this week, and it made me feel really good, but that wasn’t the point. I have also made a point to be extra thankful and appreciative to Peichi. I think I do a really poor job of that. It seems to me that sometimes the hardest people to be nice to are the people to whom I should be the nicest.
Second, I’ve tried to take What About Bob style baby steps. Thanking every customer at work, and being extra nice to people has been a good start. It is even kind of fun sometimes. I play a little game lately when someone is being kind of rude. I just try to be even more nice than usual. I don’t know that it accomplishes much, but I get to have fun and be nice at the same time.
But I’ve also realized some things that are going to be challenges. The biggest one is the matter of introspection. In C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, the main character (a demon) urges his nephew to influence his charge in dealing with the issue of humility. He instructs that if the man becomes very humble, make his humility a source of pride to him. If he then tries to work on his pride in his own humility, get him so wrapped up in dealing with this that all he can think about is himself.
I find this could easily be a temptation in this whole project. As I am trying to be less self-obsessed, am I becoming more so by dwelling on it? This is even further complicated because I am writing the whole thing down in a blog for the world to see (or just the handful of people who ever read this). I do worry about this, but at this point I don’t think it is too much of an issue.
I am sure that from the outside it seems like I am either bragging about my successes to the world, or airing my weaknesses as a catharsis. Neither is actually my heart. This is more a diary for myself. But if someone else somehow benefits from what I’m dealing with, then great! The same thing goes with my successes.
I think this will be more difficult when I do some bigger projects. If I tell about it here, then someone could question my altruism. Heck, I will question my altruism. I’ll just have to console myself by knowing that no one actually reads this 😛