Thanksgiving is a good time to reflect on what you feel happy about in your life. Sometimes, your life can feel less #blessed than those around you. Especially in the age of social media, it is easy to assume that people are posting a representative sample of their lives on Facebook or Instagram, but they are likely culling the best, the shots that make them feel happy. (I know I do!) No matter what your situation, you can find something to be grateful for, and modeling this gratitude for your kids can show them that there is always a way to focus on the positive. Gratitude is associated with happiness in later life, so best to start your kids now! Anyway, here are ten things that I personally feel grateful for on this Thanksgiving.
1. Three healthy kids.
My kids are close in age and bicker like crazy. This is particularly hard for me, an HSP who was an only child. But I was also very lonely and scared of other kids. Whenever I see my kids hug or play with each other, it warms my heart. Even their arguing, although it makes me lose my mind, is an indicator that they are learning skills to resolve conflict with intimate partners in later life. I am also grateful that I had the experience of parenting both genders, because although I really wanted and love having girls, everyone who knows me knows that this little guy has a special bond with Mommy. (Yes, he is in a suit at a cute kid contest that he got second place in, don't judge me.)
2. Two pets.
I didn't grow up with pets, as I lived in an apartment. My kids are learning to love not only people, but all living creatures, and the person-animal bond is something that I love as well. Even more than the parent-child bond, at least when the kids are rude. Wait, did I say that out loud?
3. A loving husband.
From working with couples who have grown distant, I truly recognize how it can destroy your emotional and even physical health to be partnered with someone who is unsupportive or unaffectionate. My marriage is not perfect, as nobody's is, but I don't doubt that my husband loves me and supports me. He will also always give me a hug or a kiss, 100% of the time, which is something I take for granted but many couples struggle with.
4. A husband who does childcare.
This isn't something where I thank my husband for babysitting his own kids. But my husband is engaged with the kids 100% of the time that he is not at work. This allows me to run out at night to see clients, or to write during the day. This is probably even more important than #3, at this stage of the game, actually. Because otherwise I would go completely bat$%$@ crazy.
5. My health.
I have had migraines for my whole life, and they worsened dramatically post-kids. This means that some days out of every month, I am incapacitated for a morning or afternoon, although usually medication works to abort a migraine (I have tried every preventative known to man with no results, or with side effects that outweigh results). Having a chronic pain condition, even one that is not in any way as severe as what many people deal with, has made me grateful for my overall health and has given me empathy for all my clients who struggle with far more debilitating chronic conditions. Additionally, I have many migraine triggers, including alcohol, and not being able to drink pretty much at all anymore has allowed me to probably get a lot more stuff done, like this blog, actually.
6. My body image.
Before kids, I was fairly obsessed with my weight and my body. This took up massive amounts of brain space that could have been used for other things, like building a computer from scratch or discovering the meaning of life. I am grateful that aging and having children, as well as a hell of a lot of reading and introspecting, have allowed me to shake this constant focus. I still worry about my weight or my body at times, but nowhere near what it was. I have never said that I am unhappy with my body in front of my kids, and small victory is something I am proud of.
7. A house and a minivan.
I grew up in an apartment without a car, and if I ever go on another public bus, it will be too soon. I think that nobody can truly love a minivan (aka, a warm house on wheels) until they have grown up waiting in the rain for a late bus or on freezing subway platforms all the time, having to allot an extra half hour or more to get anywhere because the bus might be late. Also, in terms of an apartment, you can't really play Gone With The Wind without a staircase. (Yes, I was as as cool a kid as that makes me sound.)
8. A job I love.
If I won a billion dollars, I would still both see clients (although possibly not my evening appointments) and write this blog, although the images would possibly not be from Pixabay, but from Shutterstock. I love my career, and if there is one thing I want to model for my children, it is that passion for your career means you never "work" a day in your life (I didn't make that quote up, though). Grad school sucked though, so I will not give a PhD the hard sell, that's for sure.
9. Friends that I love.
In addition to a handful of highschool, college, and grad school friends that I will always be close to (although I barely talk to anyone on the phone anymore and most of these people live far away), I have been lucky enough to make a few good friends in every new stage of my life. I always have a couple of people that I can call for a playdate or that I can have a Facebook message conversation with from my bed while I am steeling myself to get up and take care of my damn kids.
10. My readers and my clients.
When you own your own business, you are completely dependent on your clients. Same with a blog. Without my clients and readers, I would not have the career that I love. A therapist with no clients is like that tree that falls in the forest with nobody there. Except this tree would be talking about attachment theory to nobody. I value everyone that comes to see me and that reads and comments on my site. Thank you so much for reading and supporting my blog and my practice.
Happy Thanksgiving! And till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Wants To Hear Your Lists!
Learn about Dr. Rodman's private practice, including therapy, coaching, and consultation, here. This blog is not intended as diagnosis, assessment, or treatment, and should not replace consultation with your medical provider.