Sometimes I am overcome with gratitude.
These moments sneak up on me unexpectedly and can leave me teary-eyed if I let myself fall into them — which I often do. Because gratitude is, I think, a very good thing to cultivate.
When these grateful feelings overwhelm me, I find myself awestruck by how fortunate I have been in some area of my life. I run through a list of people I have to thank for helping me get to the place I’ve reached. It might be someone who has taught me something, encouraged or supported me, helped a dream of mine to grow, or shown me how to open a door I hadn’t even seen. Often, there are many such someones to thank.
If you maintain a gratitude practice, you probably have your own list. It might include mentors, friends, colleagues, some higher power, or a combination thereof. You may write out your thoughts or keep them in your head. Doesn’t matter.
Regardless of if or how you actively practice gratitude, my question to you is the same:
How often do you remember to thank yourself?
My answer, until recently, was never.
A few days ago, I found myself overcome with the familiar feeling of gratitude. I began a mental list of the people to whom I owed thanks for helping me reach the place where I was metaphorically standing at that moment. There were the usual players, plus a few new faces, and I spent a little time with each.
But as I mulled over my list, I couldn’t find that central figure, the one to whom I owed the largest chunk of gratitude for this particular moment, the one who had been most instrumental in this specific journey. There remained a hollow space, a slot still waiting to be filled.
And then I realized: That person was me. As my actions begin to bear fruit, as the steps I’ve been taking start to pay off, I have to remember myself. I have to say, “Thank you, self, for acting instead of drifting, for taking the reigns and not giving up.” Others have been instrumental in my journey, but without deciding to take that first step myself, and without choosing to keep taking steps, I couldn’t have budged an inch.
The feeling was uncomfortable at first. Thank myself? What kind of super-ego did I have? Surely someone else had brought this good fortune to me. I couldn’t possibly claim a hand in it.
But that’s not true at all. Including gratitude toward yourself is giving credit where credit is due. It’s putting yourself on equal standing with the others who contribute to your progress. It’s becoming confident in your own self worth.
None of that is easy for me to swallow. It goes against the self-deprecating modesty I’ve often felt the need to cultivate. But I keep telling myself: If you are willing to acknowledge the role others have played in your accomplishments, big and small, then you must acknowledge your own as well. Without your participation, nothing can even begin.
And so I vow, from here forward, to include myself in my moments of gratitude alongside the others who have helped me grow. I hope you will, too. Because when it comes to achieving your dreams, it can’t even begin to happen without you.
What’s Your Take?
Do you practice gratitude? Do you remember to thank yourself?