Living Thankfully, 1

by teresalaynebennett

photo of one hand handing over a car key to another hand

Even when someone gave me a car, I whined!

Do you whine? I whine A LOT. At least, that’s what my husband says. Since we’ve known each other over 47 years, I suppose we do have to give the man credit for knowing something about his wife. Example: someone gave us a car several years ago. In spite of its excellent condition, I’m quite sure I still whined. It’s a tuna boat. It’s a gas guzzler. Yadda. Yadda. Yadda. 

I don’t like my whining any more than hubby does. In fact, I can’t stand myself when I descend into one of my Olympic whining performances. After years of this tripe, I’d had enough of my whiny self. I decided to try out a new tack to see if I could stomp out this most unsavory habit. I decided to believe that living thankfully is just flat-out yummy-good for me.

Guess what? It worked! I’ll bet it can work for you, too. I’ll bet I can prove living thankfully is yummy-good, too, but you’ll have to stick with me, as it’ll take four blog posts. When we’re finished, I’ll even bet that you, too, will have an exceptionally long list of your own reasons for living thankfully and a plan for continuing to live thankfully. Here we go.

Living Thankfully Tip #1:
living thankfully helps you pay attention
to what’s ALREADY BEEN DONE for you
instead of what hasn’t been done for you.

In short, it fosters contentment and contentment is powerful stuff, as it’s the antidote to whining. Traditionally advocated by every major religion, it’s been given all manner of folksy descriptions through the centuries, e.g., looking at the glass half-full, seeing the silver lining in every cloud, wanting what you have, and so on.

Pay attention to what’s
in your home.

This was my first exercise to kickstart living thankfully and send Miss Whiny packing. I started in a corner of our living room and worked my way around the room, looking for items that were given to us or free for the picking – things that had already been done for us.

Try it. Was that pair of cushy fuchsia pillows a birthday gift? Was the couch a gimme from Aunt Claire because you needed a couch and she had an extra one? What about the table lamp that was a lucky find beside a dumpster? Did a family genealogist on your Dad’s side give you the framed photos of your ancestors as a Christmas gift?

Keep looking. Every time I repeat this humbling exercise, I’m astounded. If you’re like me, much of what you see in your home (and perhaps even the cool – or not-so-cool – car in the garage) took no money out of your own pocket. You didn’t even have to spend time shopping for them. They just fell into your lap through practically no effort on your part.

Someone who isn’t paying attention and isn’t living thankfully will whine about how all they have is this pitiful collection of hand-me-down stuff. Oh, poor thing. (Ick, that sounds uncomfortably familiar.) 

Have you noticed how whining self-pity doesn’t play well in most circles? Have you noticed how you don’t even like yourself much when you whine? Easy solution: send your RSVP “regrets” to the pity party. Instead, pay attention to – and be grateful for – what’s already been done for you and the little, simple things around you. It’ll make you feel yummy-good, I promise.

I’m not done. Next up: Living Thankfully, 2.

© 2014, Teresa Bennett

red box with white text: "He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have." – Socrates

Enjoy what’s ALREADY been given to you.