Cultivating your harvest

Ever complain?  Just kidding.  Of course you do.

I do, too.  Ask my husband.  He is usually the one that has to listen to it, especially when I’ve been stuck on the bridge and my commute time has doubled.

Here’s the thing…our complaints aren’t usually about the thing we are vocalizing.  It takes some reflection and soul searching, but when you start to analyze all that negativity spewing from your mouth, you get to the heart of what is nagging you.  You have the complaint you say, the real reason you are upset, and then there are the blessings that you aren’t recognizing.  For example:

  • Complaint:  My commute time
  • What’s really bugging me:  The 10+ hours a week I spend in the car is time that I can’t spend with my family or working on my photography.  That commute feels like a time thief.
  • How is my complaint symbolic of my blessings:  That commute means that I have a dependable car, a job, and an excuse to see the sunset over the water in the evenings.

So, I wrote down my usual complaints.  In hindsight, I should have gotten Bradley’s input – I’m sure he could have added a few that he has heard me mumble.  For every complaint I wrote down, I was able to identify the concern that was at the heart of my complaint.  And every single complaint had at least one blessing hiding out among the pessimism.  

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In this chapter, Lara shares a saying that feels like something I should tape in every room of my house…”Get After Grateful.”

Ain’t that the truth, whether I believe it on my worst days or not.

While I am working to better cultivate my life and I expect to harvest more happiness along the way, I have plenty of happiness to harvest currently.  The crazy circus of dogs drives me up the wall some days, but they also offer me a life of adventures, cuddles, and they sit so pretty when I’m taking millions of pictures to practice my photography.  Sometimes I complain about how much Bradley has to travel for work.  Truthfully, that job gives him such a sense of satisfaction and allows him to provide for our family in a way that ensures our comfort and financial stability.  And, while I’m being honest, having the bed all to yourself occasionally is one of the greatest feelings in the world.  

All of those things that I “have to do” are really things that I “get to do.”  That change in perspective can be incredibly difficult to harness when you are in the thick of your pity party.  This tip may be difficult for me to implement.  I have gotten comfortable with complaining.  I’ve caught myself letting the words come out even after I’ve sworn that I won’t.  I don’t want to be that person or that wife.  I want to greet my husband with a hug instead of my shrill voice cursing the traffic patterns of 64.  I want to enjoy my playful pack of dogs while I can instead of scolding them for pee puddles in the living room.  Rather than being pitiful when Bradley is away, I want to better appreciate the time that we do have together.  So instead of trying to get more things or different things, I’m going to work on getting grateful.

What are areas of your life that would benefit from a change in perspective?  How can you “get after grateful” in your own life?

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