For a very long time, I felt pretty lousy about my life.  It seemed that nothing made me happy and I could never do anything right.  If you’d been around me at that time, you would’ve heard me talking about everything that was wrong in my life.  I was a complainer who would tell anyone who would listen about how awful everything was— about how unfair it was that I was always expected to do more than I possibly could do and about how I never got a chance to do what I wanted to do.  My friends often heard me wishing that things would be better, yet no matter how much I wished or complained, it all stayed the same.

When I was at that point in my life, the people who were happy and cheerful first thing in the morning really bugged me.  I rolled my eyes at the people who said “I’m great!” or “I’m fantastic!” when I asked them how they were.  But secretly, I envied them and wished I could be more like them, because I noticed that these people who say they are ‘great’, usually talk about what’s going right in their lives, and how their lives seem to get better and better.

It took me a really long time to figure what the difference was between me and those people I envied, but once I got it, it made a huge difference in my life.   My understanding came from writing.

You see, at several different times in my life, I kept a diary.  In that diary I moaned and groaned about all the awful stuff going on in my life, and my life never changed.  Then one day a friend said to me “counting your blessings will do you more good than listing your troubles!”  She was a pretty wise friend, so I thought I’d take her advice.  I bought myself a little notebook and started to write a list of my blessings:

    I have good health.
    We have a beautiful home.
    I have a warm bed to sleep in at night.
    I am blessed with a head full of thick, curly hair.
    My parents love me.

Every day I added to the list of things that I was grateful for, often including the people I love in my life.  After awhile, I made a game of seeing how many things I could be grateful for each day.  Most days, I listed 10 things or people.  Often the same items appeared over and over again:

    It was such a beautiful sunny day today!
    I am so thankful that Neil and I are healthy.
        I love the sound of the birds chirping in
my backyard.

It helped.  The more I focused on being grateful, the more I felt I had to be grateful for!  It raised my spirits and made the world seem a brighter place.  I complained a whole lot less and my friends seemed to enjoy my company a whole lot more.  I had discovered the miracle of Journaling with Intention!

After awhile, I wondered if being thankful for all that was good about ME and not just about the things and other people in my life, would make a difference in how I felt about myself.  So, I took the writing in my little notebook to the next level.  Every day, when I was listing all that I was grateful for, I added a list of my traits, qualities, values and characteristics:

    I have integrity.
    I am kind and caring.
    I have a great smile.
    I have an excellent work ethic.

As I made these lists, day after day, I began to see that I have so many of the qualities I admired in other people.  I began to have a higher opinion of myself.  I started to think of myself as a person of worth and value.

Then someone showed me a chart with a starting point at the bottom, a goal at the top, and a line at the halfway point that represented where I was at now.   When I first looked at that chart I saw how far I had fallen short of the goal.  The person with the chart simply asked “why not look at how far you’ve come?”  Wow!  What a concept.  It was the old question “is the glass half empty or is the glass half full?” but pictured in a way that the message hit me like a ton of bricks.  Despite all the work I had been doing to shift my thinking, I was still beating myself up for not doing as much as I wanted to, instead of congratulating myself for all that I had done!

So, I started to take the time to list my achievements each and every day.  Writing down my successes, no matter how great or how small, was a way of recognizing and celebrating all I achieved.  It helped build my confidence.  I found myself saying, “if I could do that, then I can certainly do the next thing!” I started to see myself as a success.
For years I had been asking myself questions like “what’s the point?” and “who am I?” I looked to everyone around me for answers, but of course, no one else could help me. The answers to my questions about my life and me were locked deep inside my heart.  And at last my heart was opened with a key called Journaling with Intention.

All the writing I did every day opened my heart to accepting and loving myself.  I found happiness!

I saw my life go from lousy to great once I began journaling with the intention of focusing on all that I had to be grateful for.  Today I celebrate what’s right with the world.  Each and every day I give thanks for being alive.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to live in this exciting time in humankind’s history – a time when con
sciousness is continually raising; a time when blogs like this will share the message of living with gratitude!

Tina Thrussell is an inspirational speaker, workshop/retreat facilitator, life coach and author.  She is also the co-founder of Best U Can B Inc.  whose mission is to inspire people to live with greater purpose, passion, joy and love.  To discuss  her life-changing journaling process, call her at (403) 285-5266 or check her website www.bestucanb.ca.