“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others.”
– Marcus Tullius Cicero
As I scroll Facebook and IG, I read and feel anxiety and sadness between the lines and the laughter. Thank God for laughter but the anxiety feels as much like an epidemic as the virus. Quite frankly, if we weren’t anxious before this darn thing, well, just hang on, right?! And I do not want to be one of those people right now saying, “Just be thankful” or “Enjoy the moment.” I look in the mirror and try to say it and that girl looking back says, “BS” some days. I just believe the majority of us are thankful and are doing the best we can to enjoy the moments but it doesn’t eliminate all the other emotions we are feeling right now.
I do believe that every morning though, we open our eyes and send our minds off into an emotional state we choose whether it’s stress, joy, freak out mode, whatever. That first few minutes we’re awake can set the tone for the entire day. Have you ever heard someone say, “Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?” It’s usually referring to someone who’s grumpy or in a bad mood. Can we avoid getting up on the wrong side of the bed? Yes! If we take a 30 second breather, after grabbing our darn phones, and choose to put our feet down (mentally) on the right side. I believe it can and will create a momentum for the entire day not only for ourselves but also for those around us, especially those stuck at home with us right now!
I read something once called “The Gap and the Gain.” The author said that most people are living in ‘the gap,’ always seeing what’s missing. A simple example is perhaps you buying your husband a candy bar on the way home, just to be sweet, and you hand it to him and he says, “Didn’t they have my favorite one?”. That is the GAP, and also the time you want to smack him in the head. It’s very similar to living in the half empty part of the glass. He didn’t notice or care that you got the candy bar because you were thinking of him, he only noticed the thing he didn’t have. He saw the candy bar in the empty part of the glass.
Most people live in that gap. I’ve done it…. a lot. You’ve done it (and if you haven’t, let me shake your hand). A big joke in my family over the years were the gifts I got for holidays, like the Michelin man coat, a story for another day, and how they were never the right thing. Why did I see them all in the gap, in the empty part of the glass? I have no idea but I became a martyr in it and it’s not something to be proud of.
The bottom line is, regardless of our circumstances, when we live in the gap, it doesn’t matter what we have, it will never be enough. We could have the greatest spouse in the world, a dream home, and money in the bank and it simply would not be enough. It’s not our circumstances that define us, it’s us. It’s me, it’s you. And if we focus on your circumstances, we’ll find plenty to complain about. But what if, instead, we focus on what we’re capable of doing about it all? Our capabilities are always far greater than our circumstances! There is always, always something we can do to impact our days. Yes, undoubtedly, life is frickin’ hard right now. It’s not perfect. There are literal constraints all around us. But focusing on those gets us where? NOWHERE!
We have the choice to get out of the gap, to get up on the right side of the bed, to change everything in our little world and the ones of those around us, one day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time.
What are we waiting for?