There’s a meme going around my Facebook feeds lately, where friends tag others to publicly post 3 things they are grateful for every day for 5 consecutive days. Kinda like the 365 project lite, or 1-day cricket.
It’s made me remember that I used to dedicate Thursdays to Thankfulness.
I’d very recently purchased the Gratitude 365 Journal App – partly because it had the prettiest user interface out of the all the gratitude apps I’ve seen, but mostly because I want to fine-tune my perspectacles. I don’t have to tell you that there can be a lot of negativity on the internet; gone are the days of one-way mass media where a small group of elites opined. These days, an opinion piece could invite instant feedback and with it, hot judgement, cold trolling and many times, downright nastiness.
Politics and religion aside, parenting is one of those things that can press everyone’s crazy button – whether you’re a parent or not. Lately, I’ve grown so weary of reading comments that quickly deteriorate to name-calling and judgement. I’m also quickly losing what little patience I already have with manipulative scaremongers who prey on the insecurities of others to inflate their own misplaced sense of superiority and saintliness. As if parents don’t have enough secret oodles of self-doubt to deal with.
You know what I’m talking about, because we are surrounded by it daily.
It is hard not to be sucked in the game, and especially with the Facebook posting and the retweeting. I’m very opinionated on a raft of topics (read: most things). It’s probably why I started blogging, although I’ve made more of an effort with this blog to reflect and refine my words and deeds.
It also means I’m so much more susceptible to the hot judgements and the cold cynicism.
It may seem like disparate topics – gratitude and unrighteous judgement – and yet they can be two sides of the same coin. Self-righteousness is narcissistic because it assumes from the very start that my values and life experiences should determine everyone else’s True North. Yet, Gratitude is another kind of self-absorption, in that it requires discipline, and continual self-awareness and reflection.
Simply put, I find that focusing on things I’m thankful for helps slay the part of me that wants to think the worst of others. It’s not a coincidence that people who feel grateful are more likely to feel loved – and to want to love in return.
(I just want to put in a quick disclaimer that I’m not talking about Positive Thinking here. There is a difference between being perky and being thankful.)
Anyhoo – back to today’s Thursday’s Three Thank-yous…
1) This active, growing boy
I am incubating a human being that is now strong enough to kick me awake. He’s starting to settle into a 3-hour pattern – which includes an 11pm Snoopy Dance (happening right now), a 2am plié, and a 5am Ninja-stealth wallop. He responds very positively to chocolate. I am also contemplating a life with an Even More Active Kid. (Remember that Arddun was crawling and standing by 6½ months, and walking by 10½ months.) I miss him when he’s zoning out, and there is a slow smile that breaks across my face when he starts up again because I know he’s still alive. I am so thankful for the privilege of carrying 2 babies in my lifetime. Having someone move independently of you while within you is a bizarre, delightful thing.
2) This loving, (mostly) obedient girl
Didn’t mean for this round of TTT to turn out to be so general — but I’ve really enjoyed Arddun’s company this week. Sure she wants to strike out now and then – refuses to hold my hand sometimes, bursts into tears when I say “not yet” or “no”… but her manners can be so beautiful, her gratitude can be so transparent, and her concern for my welfare, so guileless and genuine. I love how she has learnt contentment with her own company, something adults can struggle with still. I love how she mostly understands when I need space to accomplish other things; that she doesn’t need to be the centre of my universe all the time.
3) The ability to own a plot of dirt
We officially became landowners yesterday. Not such a big deal to many Australians, but it’s surreal for a Singaporean like me. To own land and build your own house in Singapore (no matter how tiny) is the reserve and privilege of the fabulously, obscenely wealthy. We are not multi-millionaires, but we have been given enough to own a plot of dirt. (Weeeell, “own” is a strong word considering all land in Canberra is crown lease. But it’s still a great feeling.)