This week’s sweetest piece of plantain on social media is the #10yearchallenge. The challenge requests that people show a photo of what they looked like ten years ago compared to what they look like now—essentially showcasing their glow-up and in some cases, glow-down? It’s interesting to see the challenges that appeal most to people on social platforms. Deep inside there is a psychologist’s field day with human nature’s biggest questions. It definitely had me thinking about my own evolution, especially spiritually.
Ten years ago I was in my early days of college—thinking I knew most of what was there to know about life. Who I wanted to be, where I was going and the items I needed to check off my to-do list in order to get to where I needed to be. In between all of that though was a lot of chaos, uncertainty, and bila mupangu (no purpose) days that pointed to a bigger theme in my life—I wasn’t intrinsically anchored to anything. No rituals, no set of beliefs that were tried and true from my own personal experience. Nothing that grounded me on days when I felt like my world was crumbling.
Fast forward to 2019 and I seem to have found a cure—her name is Gratitude and she lives up to the hype. If you participate in the digital world, you most likely have seen an image, quote or video clip that says something about the importance of gratitude. The interpretation and process of how different people get there varies according to the lens that we look at it from. For some, gratitude is rooted in humility and appreciation for acts of kindness and love. And for others like myself, it’s a reminder to stay anchored in life’s small miracles that we tend to overlook because of our constant want for more than we have.
The practice of gratitude asks the question, how will we measure, recognize or receive the bigger and better version of our lives if we don’t know how to appreciate the small things that complete the bigger picture? If people stopped acknowledging our accomplishments, would we still be able to find the magic in our own glow-up? What’s the difference between prioritizing gratitude as a spiritual guide and being intentional about not taking things for granted? As I thought more about these questions, I started to wonder what other people’s meaning of gratitude is and how they incorporate it into their daily lives. So I reached out to some friends for some inspiration and perspective and here’s what they had to say. Feel free to share your tips of how you remind yourself to stay grateful and as you participate in the #10yearchallenge, I encourage you to also take inventory of how far you’ve come in your journey to self awareness.
I use gratitude as a mindfulness exercise to help me change the way I feel mentally, usually by transitioning from a negative mind-frame or sometimes even just a neutral mind-frame into a more positive mental space. A lot of it for me has to do with perspective. We are always looking for more, more, more and tend to forget to be grateful for what we have. At the end of each day, I write down 3 things that I’m grateful for. I do it at the end of the day to give me an opportunity to look back and reflect on all the days’ events. It helps me realize that there are SO many things we take for granted on a regular basis and that there is even more to be grateful for in the course of just one day.
Now that you mention it, I should start! On the real, I hardly do it. The stress of trying to keep the biz above water is so overwhelming that practicing gratitude is the furthest thing on my mind. I need to start though!
On a daily basis, I randomly think of someone that I care about and reach out to them to check in on them and let them know that I’m thinking of them and also that I appreciate them. I also buy a bunch of bananas on my way up to work a couple of times a week, which I leave on a plate in the staff kitchen. This is a subtle way that I enjoy showing gratitude to my colleagues. I also like to share my gratitude for musicians that I appreciate a lot by tweeting @ them or about them. I would say that this happens almost every week.