Monday, November 23, 2009

When it all gets to be too much...

While talking to a friend who is going through a rough time, I started thinking about how I could help her out. I truly believe that this idea could help any of us who are dealing with holiday stress or anything that has us feeling overwhelmed. It's simple and doesn't require anything more than a piece of paper and a pencil.

If you happen to have read any of the essays I've been fortunate enough to have published in the past, perhaps you recall that I am big on gratitude. I think it is one of the most underestimated powers that we hold completely in our own hands. No one else can make you appreciate the good things...the your life. You are the only one with the ability to fully realize what they mean to you and what power they can have over you.

Just grab that paper and pencil and start listing the friends in your life.

Every friend is a blessing in some way, whether they can make you smile, make you laugh when you need it most, give you a shoulder to lean on when you're feeling weak, or an ear to listen to your worries. How wonderful is it when something happens during your day and you immediately think "I can't wait to call _______ and tell her about this!" or "I don't know how to handle this. I'd better run this by _______ and get her opinion." Friends center us. It isn't that we can't think for ourselves or make our own decisions. It's that it is always good to share with someone who understands how we feel. That's a friend. It is better yet that even if they don't understand they still respect those feelings. That's a best friend.

Now add to your list those people in your life you don't know well, but who often make you smile.

The teacher at your kids' school who walks the halls distributing hugs to the little ones because she truly loves her job. Or the one who shows up 30 minutes early each morning to open his classroom to students who need that little extra bit of help with an assignment they didn't understand, even if it isn't for the class he teaches. Perhaps it's the young girl who works the drive-thru window at your favorite fast-food joint, who always wears and smile and has something nice to say.

These small gestures make a huge difference to me because I finally learned that little things add up to better days. Go into your day with no great expectations or even feeling a little down and see how quickly they add up to make your day a whole lot better. Think about it. You get only a scowl and a "Here's your change" at the drive-thru, it doesn't exactly improve your day. You have a conference with a teacher who obviously doesn't like her job much and it only adds to your worries. But look for the good, the happy, the positive things that are all around you and you'll find your mood lifting.

The last thing to add to your list is anyone or anything that you consider to be or to have been a blessing in your life. Someone who took time for you when you were a kid. A teacher whose class you enjoyed. The author whose books you enjoy. The singer whose voice thrills you.

There are blessings all around us. Too often we just enjoy them for the moment and forget to savor their memory when we need it most.

Make that list. Watch it grow. Create your own happiness. In turn, that smile you'll be wearing just might end up on someone else's list, too. :)


  1. Wonderful post Kelli! You are one of the blessings in my life.

    Maybe the next time I feel like biting the head off of a live chicken, I will slow down, breathe, and think of you.

    And then I'll have a cookie. ;-D

  2. Knitty, you're definitely on my list.
    Really close to the top, too. :) Attic Sisters are the best! ;)

  3. Definitely a great post, Kelli! It made me think. I know that when I am stuck in the house for awhile, I get moody and then getting out, even to go to the store and interact with gives me good feeling. And the feeling lasts.

    I am sorry I didn't get a chance to leave a little note yesterday but I had some time today.

    I wish you & your family a wonderful & blessed Thanksgiving!!



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