Ten Things of Thankful (Even Though I Never Figured Out The Number) #10Thankful

Have you ever really stopped to consider your impact on other people?

Maybe those young, impressionable faces in your lives, who look up to you as a role model, and who will be silently taking on board the way you live your life; the way you approach a challenge; the way you celebrate; the way you manage disappointment.

Maybe those older, wiser ones, who have had a hand in your Now You, through their inspiration, and who watch with interest (and perhaps a wry smile) as you go at life full pelt (or not), observing the ways you cherry pick the approaches which seem right to you, and do your best to ignore the snippets of their advice which seem encumbering or inconvenient.

Maybe your peers, who look sideways at you from lowered lids, to see whether you’re doing the same kinds of things they are; whether you’re still on the same page, or whether you’ve veered off in another direction, and whether that direction seems safe or foolish.

Maybe strangers who’ve felt your intervention somehow, and had their minute, or their hour, or their day, or their whole life, altered by your presence and your actions in the situation you shared.

It’s quite a responsibility, isn’t it?

I found myself challenged this week when I read a post by Renee about what your label might be, and I began thinking about the people who for whatever reason have some regard for me, and the ways in which I likely have, am, and will let them down – the ways in which my impact has been, is, and will be negative. And maybe that’s where part of my challenge lies – in that I perpetually allow myself to focus on the negatives.

By focusing on the positives, I’m not going to change the world – I know that – but I have the potential to alter my own perception and develop a more rounded view of myself. Perhaps if I understood (or was able to accept) more of the positive ways I have an impact on others, I might even find myself acceptable, and THAT would be huge.

Question is, do I dare? Do you?  I’ll break us in gently…

Change is

Maintaining good connections
To be able to make and keep friends is a novelty I hope never wears off. In addition to having family members as friends in their own right (now I’m old enough to appreciate that dynamic), I have so, SO many wonderful, supportive, encouraging, delightful friends, and I am just thrilled to pieces about that. keeping in contact and maintaining those friendships is something which boosts me and makes me thankful every day, because without them, life would be so, SO much the poorer. Definite shout-outs to WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype and In Real here…

Working as part of a team
I’m a good team player. Truly. I suck at being the boss of things, and I’m often quite hopeless alone. I’m far, far better doing as I’m told and supporting a larger whole. The added bonuses include things like ‘not having to be the one to whom the buck is continually passed’ and ‘being able to call a sympathetic colleague and whinge when the day literally turns to shit’ (don’t ask – I do NOT want to re-live it).

Striving for better
“Together we’re stronger” is a popular motto (thanks Sisterwives) but nonetheless true for being widely touted. Trying to improve either my output or my character without reference to other people is as effective as winking in the dark, and I’m thankful that I have strong connections with wonderful people who are interested and invested in me becoming the best me I can. If you find that in anyone, don’t give them up, because to have people in your corner, rooting for you and cheering you on, is FABULOUS.

Taking opportunities to act with compassion
Compassion is one of those feelings, which I think could heal the world, if we all listened to it and acted upon it when it strikes. We (I) spend so much time tangled up and over-thinking,or looking to our (my) own life, with too little regard for others, that we miss opportunities when we could act with compassion, and in those moments, make HUGE differences to those who need it. I’m thankful that there are occasions where I’ve done this, and done it successfully. I’m also glad that when I feel as though I’m screwing it up, I have friends around me to help me regain some perspective, and see things differently.

Finding Silver Linings
Something I’m SO glad I’m good (or if not good, then practiced) at. Beginning with these lists of thankfulness, which have featured as key elements in my life on a couple of occasions – it’s just GOOD to try to see the good things in life. I’m certain they always exist in some capacity or another, and really trying to focus on them not only provides a distraction from whatever’s going wrong or is less desirable, but it forces you (me) to acknowledge that there ARE good things, which are worth celebrating. It’s a skill which can come across as a bit sanctimonious at times, but I know from experience (not just my own) that it does help, and so where possible, encouraging people to look for things which make them thankful, is a constructive way of supporting them when things are challenging for them.

Making positive changes
I’ve never been one to dwell in the past, and until very recently (like, say, most of September) there wasn’t a single day I’d like to go back and revisit. Now there’s a month’s worth. Or nearly a month. Or somewhere in the region of 22 days, which may or may not get me laughed at by people who can convert start and end dates to numbers of days without resorting to counting on fingers. Suffice it to say, I WANT to revisit those days, and am determined to reinvent them in future, instead, by changing things and chasing after the wonder which was waking up every day, connected and close with a group of people. I don’t know if that’s something everyone gets, or something I’m just particularly lucky to have found, but I want it again. I SO want it again. And I’m HUGELY and forever thankful to Dana for the suggestion which sparked…well…a complete life-change (if I can wrangle it (with unbelievably HUGE amounts of help from others)).

Using what’s available
Waste bothers me, and always has. We live in a throw-away world, and when I got back to England, I was really thankful that there had been a 5p levy introduced on all plastic bags from shops. I fully support the ‘reduce, reuse. recycle’ motto for life, and though there are times when I fail, and fall under the thrall of wanton consumerism, I do at least have enough global conscience to feel bad about it. Having seen some of the conditions endured by the people who work on landfill sites trying to make a living from other peoples’ waste, it pains me to contribute, and I’m always glad when I don’t have to. I’m thankful to have access to car boot sales (and a friend who’ll come with me) to help turn my tat into other peoples’ treasure, and raise some funds at the same time.

Accepting criticism
I’m thankful I’m able to write in a way which (according to feedback) is quite readable and on occasions powerful, and sometimes makes people respond quite viscerally. I kind of love that (and if you’re someone who’s once been affected by something I wrote, and you told me, THANK YOU, because it’s boosted my confidence and made me far braver at writing) but I know that again, I’m not likely to improve without input (and lots of practice). I’m determined to somehow (or at least in part) write my way back to Murica, and I’m so so thankful for the generous people who have thus far offered their input and proof-reading and constructive criticism on some of the pieces I’m hoping to submit.

Appreciating compliments
I’ve learned the hard way that it’s important to say “thank you” when people say nice things about you, or about something you’ve done. If (‘when’, in my case) you don’t, then you run the risk of undermining their viewpoint, which is usually not a very kind thing to do, and almost certainly one which will give them pause before they bother trying to go out of their way to be nice to you again. I’ve struggled all my life with compliments, because on no level do I feel I deserve ANY, for anything. I’m thankful that I’ve (finally) come to a place where I recognise that offering a compliment is sometimes as much something for the giver as the receive. Acknowledging someone’s subjective opinion (when it’d kind and not creepy), and accepting their kindness gracefully is a thing I am glad I can now do (at least some of the time) because it validates other people’s goodness towards you, which is just a nice thing to do.

Nurturing others
Something I LOVE to do is nurture others. It’s something I think I’m alright at, and it delights me to see people flourish and hope that I maybe had a part to play in that. Everyone gets down or needs a bit of a boost sometimes, and I really enjoy being someone who can offer that (well, when I’m able to). Whether it’s a cup of tea, a back massage, practical help, or just being a caring, listening ear who can bounce ideas around, I really value that I’m able to contribute meaningfully within friendships, and I’m thankful that I have friends who trust me and appreciate my input, and I delight in being able to demonstrate how much I love and cherish them.

And on reflection, it seems as though mostly all of the above somehow, some way, comes back to love. So there’s THAT, too.

#LoveWins

 

 

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61 thoughts on “Ten Things of Thankful (Even Though I Never Figured Out The Number) #10Thankful

  1. Lizzi, you’ve written some very thought provoking words for your TTOT. Your comments about acting with compassion and nurturing others, maintaining good connections, and finding the silver lining are important aspects of life if we want to be happy. I think accepting compliments graciously is a learned skill and not something one is born knowing how to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I think you’re right, and it’s definitely a skill worth working on. It’s one of those tricky things – especially if you don’t feel worth the compliment – which is important to negotiate for both people involved.

      Like

  2. Very poignant things to remember, Lizzi, and words to live by. I think the hardest for me personally is finding the silver lining. I tend to be a bit of a pessimist and am usually waiting for the roof to cave in. lol Mathair keeps telling me to think positive, but it’s difficult to break that mindset. Your post, however, has inspired me to start finding the silver linings in life so I will start fresh and new. Hopefully it will stick and I won’t be dubbed “Debbie Downer” forever. haha 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve never found you to be a Debbie Downer, my dear. You two are so good at celebrating each other, your family, and your friends…I’ve only ever seen you in a supporting and encouraging role, so this is a bit of a surprise.

      The silver linings thing can take practice. I remember when I first started out (when things were truly dire and I really NEEDED silver linings as fuel to keep me going to the next day), I would find things like ‘I saw a car I liked the look of’, or ‘I have a comfy bed’. They were little, silly things, most of them, but the act of focusing on them and learning that yes – there were ten every day (more, even!) – was huge, and helped me through.

      I hope you find your way with the silver linings, my friend. I still often think that the roof’s going to cave in, but I guess I’ve figured if it happens it will also let in some sun or a view of the stars at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What we do impacts others, either negatively or positively. It’s important for us to be mindful of what is going on around us in order to be blessings to others instead of negative influences. I’ve seen you be a blessing to people so many times. You are very good at encouraging others.

    Saying thank you when complimented gets easier the more you do it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I shall bear your wisdom in mind – it’s very much appreciated, as ever. I shall keep trying to say thank you without getting awkward about it. And thank you for seeing me as a good encourager. I put that into the ‘nurturing’ bit, and I really enjoy doing it – I love supporting people and cheering them on in their endeavours 🙂

      And I suppose yes – everything we do has an impact…mindfulness is not one of my strongest traits, but one I will work on 🙂

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  4. I think nurturing others is a wonderful gift to have, and you have it in spades. Just don’t forget to nourish yourself. Although it’s a loop – you care for others, and they in turn care for you. That’s how it should be, everywhere.

    To play even the smallest part in helping you achieve your dream makes me so happy, Lizzi. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • *glowy* I just got all happy and mooshy inside – I’ve credited YOU with the idea of me doing this, and Samara with making me think it was even possible, and now so so many people are helping me and cheering me on, I’m blown away by their incredible love and support and response. So WOW! And I think that’s something I loved about Murica, too – I felt so nourished there. It was wonderful ❤ Thank you for all that you are and all of the ways you help look after me and encourage me ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am sooo sooo glad that you continue to write these lists instead of listening to the negatives. While on the outside, I have difficulty understanding how you could see anything negative – truthfully, I don’t know what’s going on inside you. I’ll do the best I can however from the outside to try to convince those negative voices that you really are the beautiful person that you project. Because that’s who I believe you really are – and perhaps not in spite of them, but because of them. Because of those negative voices I think you try even harder to be what they’re telling you that you’re not. Don’t let them win.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Ten Things of Thankful (Even Though I Never Figured Out The Number) #10Thankful | bardalacray

  7. I truly love this post! It’s almost frightening to think about how many people we impact on a daily basis. Obviously, as a preschool teacher, I know that little ones are watching what I do and say, but the people you meet every day, well, I guess I never thought about it before.
    Oh, and I count on my fingers too….

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who counts on fingers! SO GLAD! And if anyone takes issue with me again for it, I shall point them in your direction and demand that they observe for a moment, a completely capable, successful, inspiring woman, who influences young lives every single day, who ALSO COUNTS ON FINGERS. And I shall feel validated. Ha!

      (though HOW many times did we drive around that block in St Louis??? 😉 )

      I’m glad you like this so much. And I’m glad to be back. And I’m glad you’re here 🙂

      Like

  8. I love to read your words, feel your heart and your mind and your soul on the paper. I think, looking at compliments as as much for the giver as the receiver is a beautiful way to get over the awkwardness of accepting the “who me?” compliment. Rock on, Lizzi.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh my OceanHeart, I’m glad that you like to read what I put out there. I’m still in two minds over this. Or three, but it’s out there now and I’m nothing if not willing to look like an idiot at my own hand for the sake of whatever. I hope your weekend is going well and that you feel a little more recombobulated. If not, then breathe deep and think of the ocean. And thank you – I knew there had to be SOME way around the compliment issue, because it’s something that affects so many more than just me, so to be able to view it as giving something back to the giver is rather nice – I’m really happy you appreciate it 🙂 (and it’s genuine too – that’s good, because it’s about seeing why someone would want to pay you a compliment and then acknowledging that part of them, so it’s not about bullshitting, which is what I wondered it might come across as, and I wouldn’t be comfortable with that, so I’m truly glad you get it 🙂 ) ❤

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  9. I love the graphic you made…very inspiring:) Everyone has a different definition of a silver lining and that is what makes us unique and makes us each happy in our own lives. If we all had the same silver linings, how boring would that be??

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes, yes, yes, to maintaining connections with friends and making new friends and giving them support and love, always. Life is hard enough!
    Accepting compliments is hard sometimes, esp when you’re in a dark place in your head.
    My wife has depression and anxiety, I’ve become quite good at finding the silver lining (sometimes, the sillier the better, if it makes her laugh and get off the Spiral of Doom).

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think it’s quite common to have difficulty accepting compliments. I remember my mom telling me when I was about 12 to “Just say thank you” when someone gave me a compliment. It was hard then, and it’s hard now, but her words made an impression on me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’m pretty sure my mum’s had some input over the years about ‘just be gracious and say thank you – you don’t have to fight people on every single one’. Maybe one day we’ll learn from them…

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  12. What an incredibly insightful and inspiring list you have there, Honeybee. I read every word carefully in order to absorb their meaning. You put it all in writing so eloquently and clear. 🙂 Love HAS to always win, dammit! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love has won; Love is winning now; Love will win again. It is finished. And yet we’re still catching on, I think, a lot of the time. Thank you for doing me the honour of giving this such a careful read. I whizzed back through it after I wrote, and then wasn’t sure whether it was interesting or good or just self-aggrandising, and then I didn’t like it much. It’s very gratifying to know that you found it inspiring and insightful. Thank you ❤ ❤

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  13. * yeah, something I’m trying out today…. is related to being a clark, therefore you will sense whatever the hell I may (or may not) be attempting with this simplicity-to-a-fault Commentationing today

    ohkay a hint: clarks, in comment mode, will try to help by offering supportive information that reinforce what they believe the (original) speaker means… this is a natural result of the role of information in the worldview of clarks… i.e. all information is good, new information is even gooder… and so, in the sense of secret collaboration, we will tend to say, ‘yeah! what a great point! it’s like….’

    ya know…

    Liked by 1 person

    • But wait, isn’t that just somewhere between people-pleasing and vaguely alluding to your own opinion, all in the one, and perhaps condensing down beyond nuance and leaving nuance to the skies? That made me feel very rogerian (you suck for that, btw) because they say that someone who just writes “Good post” has probably read and dismissed it but feels somehow obliged to leave a token of their having been there…yaknow…for convention’s sake. :p

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      • good point! (to make things more self-referential and therefore at total risk of indulging in my own self-distorted self-image as a clark… I’ll say, yeah…. you’re right while I know the logic and rationale behind my little experiment (and therefore you would instantly ‘get it’ through the wonderful power of identification) I guess I’ll end my brevity experiment and go back to the longer and assumedly more satisfying to read comments that seek to show that I get what is being said by offering variations that demonstrate the thesis contained in the Post.
        (tbc)

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Silver linings are key.
    I too feel like feedback, criticism, and practice are needed if I wish to grow as a writer. I just wish, like compliments, these were easier to take and improve on. It all takes time and work. It all involves acceptance of oneself. Not easy, but worth it. I hope to write a lot more about travel, so all the stories you have to tell about your trip last month are intriguing to me. I am sure you have some excellent tales to tell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I DO! And I will write them, I promise. I’ve written one already, but it’s for submission and I won’t publish it here until I’m sure it’s okay to (or if it gets rejected lol). I like having criticism when I’m in a place to listen to it. Unsolicited critiques can be really hard to take, but when I ask someone I trust to give me genuine feedback, it’s helpful and I appreciate it hugely, because I know I want to improve, and hey – there’s ALWAYS room for improvement, right?

      I look forward to reading more of your own pieces about travel. What have you in mind? Or is that a secret yet?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can understand about writing certain things specially for submission purposes, but then considering publishing them on the blog, if they aren’t accepted. Sometimes I try to hold onto them in case they are better suited elsewhere.
        Oh, I have lots of travel related stories. I’ve even started a separate website for them.

        Liked by 1 person

        • COOL! That’s awesome. I love that you have another aspect to your writing that I never knew about. And you’re right – perhaps I could hold onto this one for an elsewhere, if it doesn’t get accepted where I first try. Good thinking, Batman!

          Liked by 1 person

    • The silver linings can sometimes be really, really awful, and to a casual bystander they’re barely there and no good anyway (situation dependent) but I think what makes the difference is the attitude going into it. The good thing about silver linings is that they in no way seek to undermine the challenges and difficulties in life, but rather to recognise that there ARE good things in spite of those, and that those good things make life worth persisting with.

      I hope you never lose focus either 🙂 It’s nice in this community though, because we all help each other to see the silver shining through the darkness. I know that’s helped me ENORMOUSLY. On many occasions.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. What an excellent list of thankfuls. I especially identify with the compliment thing. I am terrible at taking compliments.

    I must say that these Thankful posts have really enriched my life. I read them all every week. I find myself consciously making my own lists. I’ve been a year without a job and finding it very difficult getting one. Consciously looking for thankfuls really helps me not feel the overarching anxiety.

    My long way of saying thank you to you, and all the other writers ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ack. A year without a job sounds like a really challenging place to be. I’m so glad that looking for thankfuls is keeping you from feeling extreme anxiety, and I really hope that soon enough you get to have the HUGE thankful of having found suitable employment again. It sucks to be stuck.

      The compliment thing is tricky, I think. I’m always aware that it’s a subjective thing, and I guess important (or impactful) enough to the other person to make a point of saying something, so for me to dismiss their opinion seems rather callous. So if I can reframe it in my head to be NOT about me or my worth or my own merit, but more about appreciating whatever it is in that other person which calls them to be complimentary, and what THEY will get out of my gracious acceptance, then perhaps that’s a better way to look at it. Or maybe that makes me a horrible bullshitter. I’m not sure.

      But you’re welcome for the hop. I love the community here, and I’m glad you’re part of it – it’s so nice to have this place of all things, but all things pertaining somehow to good, to come and rest in for a while each week.

      Like

  16. I’ve thought a lot over the years about accepting compliments. It’s hard no matter which way they are received. Even when we *know* they’re *deserved,* they’re still uncomfortable, at least for me, usually (socially or personally, anyway – I’m totally cool getting compliments at work for whatever reason). It’s like when I am proud and get a compliment, I feel like I need to recognize the other person.
    Anyway. FRIST FRIST FRIST lalalala. Accepting criticism is even harder except sometimes I REALLY want feedback and while I know it’s hard to give, bleh bleh this is a dumb comment but I’m sunburnt and in FL and last night of vaca. The whole house is asleep. Just read my mind already okay? That would be easier anyway. Even than typing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read your mind. I read your mind. I will read your mind. You are the collective. Or something. But yeah, I get it. Though I don’t take compliments about my work, either, because there I’m just doing my job, and because OBVIOUSLY just doing my job isn’t enough, I have to go over and above and it’s still not really alright.
      I like compliments on my writing though. I’m an arrogant little gobshite about that sometimes.
      With compliments on ME, though (esp physically (and why am I telling you this even?)) I just don’t feel they belong to me, if that makes sense. I’m getting a bit better maybe or maybe not, but I just…nah. Not better. And I don’t feel like I’m better than anyone and that other people are definitely more compliment-worthy than me. Maybe that’s back into boosting people, cos that’s something I enjoy doing and something I know I’m good at. And that just IS a thing, not something which needs recognition or feedback or…damnit I’m tired and you’re late and whatever.
      Put stuff on your sunburn.

      Liked by 1 person

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