Way back at the beginning, after my husband left me, one of the things that helped me get through that first awful year was keeping a gratitude journal. No matter how bad things got – his bullying, my grief, arguments with lawyers, concerns over money, sense of worthlessness, dealing with the bank; finding somewhere to live; going into social situations on my own for the first time – I decided that if I could find 3-5 positive things each day, then I had to class it as having been a good day.
They didn’t have to be big things: a nice cup of coffee; only crying 3 times in a day instead of 5; hanging out with a friend or friends; walking a dog; finding a nice e-mail in my inbox; my granddaughter hugging me; the sun shining; my favourite song playing on the radio; the first snowfall; leaves crunching beneath my feet: hitting 10,000 steps on my Fitbit; a hot shower, a good movie or programme on TV; chocolate.
Such a simple thing, but believe it or not, it helped.
Isobel and I are now entering our 6th and 3rd years alone. On the whole, life is better than we could have imagined it in those early days. There are still some rough times – the Christmas season brought heightened emotions and a few tears – but on the whole, we’re both in a better place.
So we’ve decided to conduct an experiment this year. We’ve both chosen two empty jars. We’ll label one jar, ‘good day’ and the other, ‘bad day’. At the end of each day, we’ll decide what kind of day it has been and drop 10 cents into the relevant jar. Visually, it will be interesting to see what they look like, and if nothing else we’ll have $36.50 to spend on a meal out, new book or whatever.
Please join us in this experiment. We’d love to know how you fare.
We would caution, however, that if you are still in that first horrible year, perhaps the gratitude journal idea might be a better idea for you. And if your ‘bad’ day jar fills more rapidly than your ‘good’ day, please think about seeking out professional help.
May 2018 ease your pain and bring you hope for a healthy, positive future.
Our very best wishes – Isobel and Vhairi.
P.S. I’m adding this paragraph on January 7th. I hope your year is going well so far, but if you’ve had to add a penny to the ‘bad’ jar, perhaps add a little note with it, saying what happened and why. Then, at the end of the year, you can look back on those days, examine why they were bad, and judge how well you are moving on.