Most of us regularly crave change in our lives. We want a better living situation, a better job, a better boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse, and no sooner do we have those things than we get frustrated and begin to want something new and different.
But very often, the key to being happier with our current state - and, yes, getting that new thing that we want - is appreciation for what we currently have. I call this “gratitude.”
My clients often ask me why they should find things to like about something that they feel isn’t working for them. Finding things to appreciate about something you want to change is often a big challenge for people, especially when what they want to change has to do with their bodies. Most of us are so programmed to find things that we don’t like about our bodies, that we don’t know where to start when we have to think of things that we like. We also think that if we begin to like things about our bodies, we’ll get complacent and things will never change.
I’m going to start with an example of something that has less emotional charge for most people than their bodies. Let’s use the desire to get a new job as an example. Let’s say you’re in a job where you work long hours for too little money. (I’ve been there.) Now let’s say you want a job where you work less, earn more, and do more interesting work. (I’ve soooo been there too.) Aside from updating your resume and searching for new jobs, one of the best things you can do is make a list of things about your current job that you’re grateful for. Include everything you can think of, from a coworker you’ve befriended, to skills you’ve learned, to the fact that it’s supported you for x amount of time, to the convenient location—everything you can think of. Write these things down.
This exercise does a couple of things. It changes your mindset about your job and the way you perceive yourself in your job. It allows you to see and feel all that your current job has brought to you. And, perhaps most importantly, this exercise shows you that though you desire change, your current job isn’t “bad” or “wrong.”
Making a list of what you’re grateful for about your body can have an amazing effect. It can make you see that your body, just as it is right now, is beautiful and functional and brilliant. You may find that you’re grateful for so many things about your body, like the beautiful curve of your neck and the strength of your arms and your delicate wrists. You may even find yourself grateful for some of your “bad” habits, like when late-night snacking got you through a painful break-up when you didn’t feel like it was safe to deal with your emotions. Once you begin to find the genius in your current situation and choices, you may find that those situations that you had seen as negative before fall away more easily. When you are grateful for what you have, you open yourself up to positive change when you least expect it.
Try this week’s tip: The next time you’re feeling wrong or bad about a situation (job, habit, relationship, anything) make a list of 20 things that you’re grateful for about that situation. It may be a challenge, but you’ll feel so glad that you did it. Feel free to report back to us about how it went for you!
And don’t forget to check out other great More of Me to Love blogs.
Also, please stop by Golda’s Facebook group and become a member of the Body Love Wellness Group! Want to meet Golda? Check out the More of Me to Love Calendar for this week and attend the upcoming events in the New York and Philly areas that she’ll be attending.
Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness. She counsels women and men throughout the country on how to get off the dieting roller coaster, give their bodies what they really crave, and love their bodies and themselves. Golda's counseling and activism work have been featured on CBS's The Early Show, ABC's Nightline and Time Out New York. For more support with healing your relationship with food and your body, get your free copy of Golda's Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining by clicking here.