Ripples of Thankfulness

I’m going to tell you a story. An old one, which you might have heard before if you know me well or have been reading here for a long time. It’s a story of a ripple effect which grew from ‘desperate measures’ into a thriving, engaging community of people across the world.

Putting it that way, it sounds pretty awesome, and perhaps it really is!

A long time ago, when I was nearing my 20’s, I found myself suffering from a surfeit of probably-almost-everyone-in-the-world-has-some-but-it-felt-worse-because-it-was-MINE LifeCrap. As I had experienced a lot of negativity from an early age, I believed a lot of toxic things about myself. I felt as though the LifeCrap was never going to end, that I deserved it all, that I was worthless and pointless and something of a blight upon any who knew me.

I was diagnosed with depression, and given medication and counselling, both of which helped in various ways, and for which I was very glad. I still felt as though my world was ending though, but perhaps there’s something to be said for hitting what you *think* is rock bottom in your teens, so that when (as an adult) you tunnel deeper still, you can look back on the relatively UNLifeCrappy days of not-so-long-ago-really, and know it wasn’t as bad as all that. Or something. Maybe it was as bad as all that, and time did its thing with being a healer (or giving you space to forget the excruciating details)…at any rate it seemed less bad by comparison.

The thing was, because I was somewhat lazy, and also bad at taking responsibility, the idea of offing myself (whilst hugely attractive, just to put an end to my own misery) seemed like a VERY Big Deal, so I decided that I wouldn’t do it, as long as I could find ten things each day that I was thankful for.

Ripple effect - summat2thinkon.wordpress.com

I found them. (obv)

I also kind of appreciated the challenge of trying to find the silver linings and identify those ten things which would get me through to the next day. There was a satisfaction in having found ten things which completed my bargain with myself, and in going on to see what the next day would hold. Some days it was just awful and I didn’t even want to find the ten, then I’d find that they started flooding in, ten and tens and more, so that there was no way I could end it all, because the quota had been met and overwhelmingly exceeded. Either way, it stayed my hand, and eventually I came through the depression to the other side.

When I discovered a few years ago, what Actual, Proper, Grown-Up LifeCrap was like, and I went back down the long-trodden routes of self-hatred, worthlessness, terrible self-esteem etc, etc, I remembered the little strategy I’d had as a teenager, and resurrected it right here on this blog. And sometimes on Facebook. And kind of wherever I was, because no matter what was going on, I was determined not to prove a complete let-down to the people who loved me, by ending things and making their lives even worse.

It caught on a bit. People seemed to really like the idea of finding ten things to be thankful about each day. They pricked up their ears and listened. Whether or not it was because they liked me and wanted me to find ways to thrive, ways to get through it, or they saw something worthwhile in me where I didn’t, or they just thought it was a good idea, they supported and encouraged and cheered me on. Some of them started joining in, putting their own things of thankfulness ‘Out There’, proliferating the idea that ‘the more good, the better’. Eventually there was a little crowd of us, all focussed on thankfulness and its place within our lives.

I had been an active participant of several blog hops (Finish the Sentence Friday was my first, and favourite) and I wondered whether this thankfulness thing was something which might have wheels, if I attempted turning it into a blog-hop of my own. I put the idea, tentatively, to some of the group who’d been part of the little crowd, and was met with unbridled enthusiasm. Thus the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop was born -scheduled for weekends, when all of the other hops…stopped.

I had Ten co-hosts, partly to allow the hop wider ‘advertising’ and increase awareness of it through the communities of readers of each of the bloggers leading it…and partly because I was scared that if I did it on my own, it would all lose impetus, I would lose impetus, and it would end up being one of those things which I’d attempted for a while and made a hash of, like the way I felt about so much of the rest of my life. I didn’t want that to happen – it felt kind of like an idea which was somehow bigger and more important than just me.

It’s been over three years since the hop started – we’ve had a few changes of co-host, but many are the same who began with me, all that time ago. We’ve fluctuated in closeness and interconnectedness. We’ve surfed the highs and lows of the Blogosphere as it passes through the dead summers and busy springs and autumns. We’ve had hundreds of participants – some who’ve stayed for one week, some who’ve proven intermittent but determined returners, we’ve had some who’ve pitched up and stayed for good.

From a stone I never really intended to throw, or didn’t realise I was throwing at the time, a solid community has built up around the TToT, and become a staple part of many of our lives. We’ve celebrated the thankfuls together. We’ve commiserated the less-thankfuls. We’ve held each other up through the truly-awfuls. Some of us have even managed to meet actually in fact, in person, In Real, and have become more to each other than just fellow bloggers in a hop at the weekends.

This has rippled into genuine relationships, real friendships, true treasure – real voices unfiltered into my ears, real face-to-face smiles, real and indescribable fulfilment of getting to hold loved ones in my arms and learn the nuances of them, in their contexts.

Wonderful, glorious ripples, which have affected my life in myriad glorious, utterly unexpected ways.

One of the ripples which has bounced off the sides and flowed back towards me is that my friends in the hop have been able to see me change from someone very needy, very despairing, and at the end of her tether, to someone filled with happiness and friendship, periodically fizzing over with excitement about life and the future. It absolutely hasn’t turned out the way I thought it would, but the one steadfast bit of goodness which has kept me going through the darkest times I thought were possible, has been this hop, these people…and I am endlessly, endlessly thankful.

I can end this story by sharing that whatever else, our actions, positive or negative, do create wider impact than just our own personal sphere. Our attitudes and what we put ‘out there’ is something which can inspire and generate connections, or something which can cause disgust and gaps which widen between people. A good friend quoted Lucille Clifton to me today, saying “It is nice to find your tribe, or actually, what happens is your tribe finds you; and you are so happy.”

My ‘tribe’ are committed to thankfulness, to seeking the good in life, to finding silver linings, and to love. Each weekend, thankfulness fills my corner of the Blogosphere and sweetens its waters, reminding that whatever else might be going on in life, there is always, always, something to be glad about.

If you want to come over and see the magic as it happens, you’re very welcome to join us this weekend (and the one after that (and the one after that (and the one after that))) to peek around or share your thankfuls or participate in any way you’d like to. We’re open to everyone.

 

Ten Things of Thankful
<a href=” https://summat2thinkon.wordpress.com/ten-things-of-thankful/ ” target=”_blank”><img src=” https://summat2thinkon.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/10thankful-banner.jpg?w=700?w=700&#8243; alt=”Ten Things of Thankful” style=”border:none;” /></a>

Your hosts

Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group

 

In addition to fulfilling the grat requirements for the TToT for this weekend (SBoR p119, second footnote, stating the quasi-but-mostly-enough validity of a self-referential post which also fulfils the requierments for another blog hop (in this case, Finish the Sentence Friday, hosted by the delectable also-co-host of TToT, Kristi Campbell))…oh, you get it. Right?

Finish the Sentence Friday

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68 thoughts on “Ripples of Thankfulness

  1. Pingback: Ripples of Thankfulness – ladyleemanila

  2. Still thankful to be a part of your tribe (even if I don’t have time to write about it all the time). And hope you’re believing more wonderful things about yourself and less toxic things. Because you my dear are one of the most inspiring people I know. Very few people can actually sparkle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re DEFINITELY part of my tribe and I’m so glad you are ❤

      I'm slowly beginning to believe good things about myself, because so many trustworthy people seem ardently to believe them, and I can't just discount them all, out of hand. Lowest common denominator is me, in this instance, and I'm trying to bear that in mind and buck my ideas up.

      As for actually sparkling 😉 I may or may not have gone into silly girlie raptures recently, upon discovering a lipgloss called 'Twinkle Twinkle' (yes, pink and glittery) 😉

      Like

  3. I love that blog hop. I didn’t know who started it, but I’ve read a lot of blogs with it thinking it was a great idea I wish I came up with myself. If ever you get any kinds of depressed again, remember also that what you did with this blog hop took great courage, but even more important, you have made a lasting impression on many people and most likely changed many lives for the better. Your life means more to the world beyond your friends because of the ripples you are leaving behind. Your success with this blog hop is worthy of boasting to yourself about.

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    • Ahhhh Honeybee I’m glad you’ve had lots of time with your family. I saw a great pic of you with your cousins – you all looked so happy 🙂

      Glad you like this piece, and well…I LOVE spreading the love, and am delighted you like being part of it! ❤ xxooxx

      Like

  4. I never knew this, the genesis of TToT. This is beautiful. I’ve had this open in my browser all weekend and I’m so glad I waited until this morning to read it. It’s the perfect way to start my week.

    I have seen you change so much in the time that I’ve known you. I am honestly amazed at where you are at, moving to America and starting a new life, after the last few years and all of the turmoil. I hope you realize that it’s remarkable to be here now and this journey would have taken most people much longer. It’s a testament to the strength within you. And one thing has been constant in my time knowing you… your giving, loving, sparkly nature. Even in the dark times you would ask about me and want to talk about what was going on with me, you would still find something sweet and positive to say. You have been a huge influence in my life, in my thought process and made me want to do more good. I love you my dear friend. I can’t wait until you’re only a drive away and I can hug you in real. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow…G…if I was the kind of person who cried at comments…you just made my heart grow about eighteen sizes larger. I’m humbled and astonished by the thought that I’ve had an influence on your life and your thought process, and that I make you want to do more good. You’re one of the most good-doing people I know, and the determination and scope of your plans is incredible and I think you’re going to do amazing things.

      I guess I don’t realise that my story is remarkable because I see so much of the other sides of it, and to have it like this, starkly, is quite unusual for me. I think we’re all different and we all get through things in different ways – I was just so SO fortunate to have wonderful people around me at the right moments to keep me going. And this little thankfulness strategy, which goodness only knows where it came from. It worked. It works. That’s the main thing.

      I’m glad I’ve changed. I hope for very much the better! I feel as though I have, and I used to think that would be an impossible dream, so I’m VERY excited it happened.

      Like

  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!! Three years, huh? Wow. And I feel SO honored and utterly blessed to have walked alongside YOU through much of it.. watching you grow and bloom through all those hard places and pitfalls and transform into HOPE- so rich with color and spark and goodness. Oh, what a thrill for me and so many others to witness the emerging glorious YOU, having risen from the rubble…

    Your TToT will always ALWAYS be my favorite hop, no matter if I join or not- I’m forever IN it with you, my beloved and cherished friend. This mission has and will continue to have a lasting ripple effect for years to come…

    You done good, girl. Ya done good.

    YOU have made HUGE and LASTING ripples on so many lives… By being you. Transparent, beautiful, thoughtful, real, loving, kind and always always giving. THOSE things have been in you from the beginning- the rest: strength, fortitude, clarity, courage, and acceptance have all been birthed through YOUR hard work and YOUR endurance.

    Many of us believed in you from the beginning… we knew you were something special. And I for one, am SO incredibly grateful you are allowing yourself to shine with the fullness of ALL those gifts now and oh so many more to come.

    I believe this is only the beginning of the NEW you. I can’t WAIT to see what comes!!

    I love you dearly and always. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bless your boots, my darling Kitty – I don’t feel deserving of half the goodness and love in that comment, but I am so, SO proud to call you my friend and to delight in the way you’ve been with me and encouraged me all along. I am SO very grateful and thankful for your friendship and your presence in my life. If I am becoming anything worthwhile then part of that is down to the ways you’ve helped and supported me, and given me a safe space to air my troubles, and have helped me see ways forward. Thank you ALWAYS for you ❤

      As to this hop…I am just DELIGHTED it's gone so well, and that it's had such a huge impact. I'm amazed and I feel privileged to be part of it, really, and thrilled that I somehow came up with it! 😀

      Like

  6. I love this blog hop. I look forward to it every week. I don’t know how long I’ve been reading but I’d say at least a year. Thank you for starting it, Lizzi, and thank you to all who contribute.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhh I’m so, SO glad to know that, Diana. Thank you for letting me know 😀

      I’m so overjoyed that so many people really do seem to get a LOT out of it 🙂

      Like

    • Hi Bren – I’m glad you think this beautiful – I know it’s not an easy story, or a straightforward one. I love your idea of waking up to find thankfuls each day. I bet that starts your day off amazingly!

      I’m lucky because mostly I start my day with voice messages from people I love very dearly 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: The Ripple Effects of Self-Care | Calculated Chaos

  8. LIZZI –
    I love this, my friend!!! I love that you had the strength to look for those ten things (because I know, sometimes it isn’t easy)…and I love that you are continuing to find them and share them with us – and that you are creating those ripples and encouraging others to be thankful as well. I can say without a doubt that you have made a difference in MY life and I know I’m not alone in feeling that way. Thank you for putting out such positivity into the world – all of your wonderfulness has traversed continents and crossed oceans, and *I* am so thankful for that. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • K! (I deleted your duplicate, cos I had to approve this before it showed up – sorry!)

      SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU HERE ❤ And…I'm so thankful too, that I found the stubbornness and determination to find and cling to those ten. I'm so glad I'm still here, and part of this wonderful online community. I love that I get to pass on the message of how life-changing gratitude can be, and that I'm a walking lesson in the transformational capabilities of love.

      I'm so glad I made a bit of a difference for you – I feel very privileged that you feel that way. You've made a difference in my life, too, I hope you know. You've opened my eyes to so much I'd just otherwise be utterly ignorant of, and I'm forever grateful for that, but also just really glad of your friendship and the wonder and brightness of your spirit.

      I shall always endeavour to put something good into the world – I've received so MUCH good, it feels right to try to give back ❤

      Like

  9. Such a sweet post.
    And wistful, too.
    I’m thankful, thankful for you.
    In all life’s highs and the inevitable lows,
    we meet people who lovingly help us through our woes.
    To our friends in our circle, we can honestly say,
    life just couldn’t be, wouldn’t be, any other way.
    Without their support, and hope and love,
    we couldn’t soar, fly really, like a beautiful dove.
    You’ve grown your wings, and you’re soaring high,
    jewels and sparkles as you wave by.
    I’m so glad to know you,
    because it’s through your writing that I’m inspired, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is beautiful – complex patterns, like your art,
      Reflected in the ever-changing beauty of your heart,
      Which strives to see the wonder in the world in every way,
      And wants to make it better for all those who work and play
      And live and grow and rise and fall atop this merry sphere
      But I’m glad, so glad, so thankful that you found your way o’er here
      That you’re part of our community and swell our ‘grateful’ ranks
      For you see the soul, the value, in the art of giving thanks.

      Like

  10. A lovely walk down memory lane. 🙂
    It’s hard to believe we’ve been doing this for three years! Your idea has rippled, for sure. So many people have taken it up and brightened their days because they read a thankful post one of us has written. I have one reader who started doing a thankful list of her own every week simply because she liked reading mine each week. Times 10 (plus the number of faithful linker-uppers!) is a whole mess of people who have tried to look on the brighter side. See, dreams really do turn into good things, and better things than we could have dreamed sometimes. 🙂 Thank you for asking me to be a part of it all those many weeks ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well this was never a dream, just an accidental tangent which spun off, and created a HUGE amazing thing we all made together and…I’m SO happy I asked you to be part of this, and that you’ve been one of the people who have made this hop what it is.

      I’m HUGELY happy that one of your readers also joins in in the comments – that’s awesome! I shall have to look out for her.

      And yes…I hadn’t even considered the people who get cheered up by reading one of the posts we’ve written – that’s a lovely thought 😀

      Hooray for us, and all that we’ve been through 😀 *cheers*

      Like

    • Definitely. All the way to laughter and shared time in a pancake house in NJ – truly, truly treasured memories there, my OceanHeart ❤ Love you too ❤

      Like

    • Awwwh thank you, and ME SO VERY TOO to being glad you found your way here. And I’m glad you stayed, and that you belong here, and that you’ve been one of the principal bloggers who has supported and nurtured this community of ours 😀 Thank you.

      Like

  11. That Lucille Clifton is one smart woman. And that good friend is one very lucky friend, or so she truly believes.

    I may not have known you when, but I know you now and I would have loved when just as much as I love you now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know who Lucille Clifton is (my loss, clearly!) but I am ever so ever so glad of my smart friend, and her love and friendship, and how much she means to me ❤

      I'm glad you know me now. And I'm glad you think you would have loved me then. I was challenging, to say the very least, but clearly it didn't put off some of the very finest people I know, and I'm incredibly grateful for that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, see…I’m the person people have to really seriously screw up (as in horribly betray me) and even then…well, I’m still talking to people that have hurt me terribly, and I forgive them. My ex is the only person I don’t have much to do with but that’s more because I know how we are when we are around each other and I’d rather not give in to that kind of negativity or give him or I a reason to participate in bad behavior.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow! This is my first time learning about the story behind your TToT! Thank you for that. Lizzi, the discernment you had in the thick of depression and during such a difficult time is astounding. I’ve watched people very close to me, my sister in particular, go through deep depression, and I will remember this story of yours and the healing that began with gratitude forever. What a gift this has been to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so sorry to learn your sister suffers with depression, Julie. It’s such an absolute BEAST of an illness to have, and I hope she’s doing well now.

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading this, and that you think the story will stick with you. Depression is an insidious, terrible thing and it gives you such tunnel vision. This was kind of a way to beat the tunnel vision (almost whether I wanted to or not, some days) and it made an enormous difference. In a way it’s that huge effect which made me think it was worth opening up to other people – the whole ‘gratitude’ thing is incredibly potent and I wanted to get others hooked on it because it’s SUCH a good thing. (P.S. I totally typo’d that it’s a god thing, and maybe that too! Who knows, right? 🙂 )

      Like

  13. I just found you via Blog Share Learn on Facebook! When I started reading, and then half way through, I thought you were going to say the TTOT was ending…… so glad it’s not! It sounds wonderful and truly transformational. I try to express my gratitude daily in my thoughts, and as often as I can on paper. It really has made a difference. So glad you made it through the bad times to better times, and you’ve lead the way for others as well. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there, and welcome from BSL. It’s a great group, isn’t it?

      I hope the TToT goes on for many years yet, bringing more and more people into its community, welcoming more people committed to gratitude, and who know what a force for good it can be in their lives.

      It’s AMAZING the difference it makes, and I bet your daily thoughts, however they come out, are really wonderful and helpful.

      I’m glad I made it to here, and with people alongside who’ve made all the difference. Onwards and Upwards, right? 🙂

      Like

  14. Aha, a wonderful birth story of Ten Thanks of Thankful!
    It’s funny how something can feel so big and insurmountable and then you get through it and discover it worse in later times and you almost miss the first bout or whatnot.
    I have never had depression but can say it about anxiety big time.
    My teen years anxiety seems so much…easier.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it’s the same way that summers last for EVER when you’re a kid – contextually they’re HUGE against the backdrop of the rest of life, but straightforwarder, maybe, as is teen ‘stuff’. With added experience and context and nuance, against the backdrop of so much more awareness the ‘stuff’ of adulthood can be worse and tangly.

      I’m just glad I have this hop each week to come back to. Even if I don’t think I’m doing well at being thankful, at least I’m here to do it, right? 🙂

      Like

    • Awwwh thank you so much, Dana ❤ I am so very glad of your friendship and your inspiration. I still remember the very matter-of-fact way your suggestion dropped a bomb into my life and changed its trajectory forever. And I remember that you are my hope holder, and…my goodness, don't I have such INCREDIBLE hope now?!?! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Almost first anyway. FRIST TO SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! (BOOM!)
    (it’s on FB now)
    (what)
    So so glad you didn’t end it all and never do okay? And so happy that you started this TToT thang because it’s superfab, as are you and that we met in ripples three years ago from FTSF and that we met in real and that we have love and ripples and all of the alls. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heheh my dear favOrite, we have established yes – you were right – it was on Fb (somehow (*headdesk*)) and is no longer but THANK YOU ANYWAY and BOOM! FRISTISH!

      I won’t. And I’m particularly so thankful for YOU, and all your support and care in the midst of those particularly difficult times, and how you gave me fresh perspectives and helped me to keep going.

      Thank you always for you, and ripples and real and love and new perspectives and always all of the alls ❤ xXx

      Like

  16. I am so glad when I hear something has stayed a person’s hand, when they’ve considered ending it all. I have seen what that looks like. I don’t judge a person’s reasons for giving up, as has happened in my family twice in the last decade alone, but that’s why it is so wonderful to see how you have come through so much and are doing so much with that awareness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry to hear that, Kerry. I’ve been close, and I’ve had good friends who have been close, and I absolutely understand the reasons, and how calling it ‘selfish’ is at best, ignorant. But everyone has their reasons and sometimes I think life does get too much to bear. That said, I look around now and I’m so SO thankful I stayed, because life is really rather good, with LOTS of loveliness.

      I’m so very thankful for everything that made me stay. And thank you – I’m glad you think this is important 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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