Colorado Life Coach: 4 steps to Thankfulness

I’m just so thankful!

Not really for anything in particular today.

Bad things are still happening in the world. People I know are still hurting. People are still dying. Life is still really hard sometimes.

But I am different.

Life was sooo hard for such a long time. I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. So many things were going poorly: multiple relationships, health, my emotions, sleep, anxiety, depression, family stuff. I was totally overwhelmed!

Have you ever felt that way?

Do you feel that way now?

So what changed?

I did.

It didn’t happen overnight. I’m not even sure I realized I was changing. I worked really hard because I knew something had to change or I wasn’t going to make it. In my quest for changing my circumstances, I learned a few things.

1. Boundaries. My boundaries stunk! They were so bad that the shrink I saw to medicate my sleep, anxiety and depression told me to teach a class on boundaries so I’d learn how to have them. So I did. I learned how to take care of myself physically and emotionally. I learned to only say “yes” to things I could do with a cheerful heart. I learned to allow others the freedom to say “no” to my requests without taking it personally or holding it against them. And I’m thankful.

2. Take responsibility. I took responsibility for my life. I heard about doing this my whole life, but somehow, it didn’t make it into my brain. I didn’t get it. I blamed. I defended. I criticized. I accused. I got defensive. It took a hard-nosed (I have a different word in my head, but don’t want to offend) recovering alcoholic to get in my face and make me realize that my life was my doing. It was not pretty-at all. If I had known how hard that journey would turn out to be, I don’t think I would have had the courage to do it. It broke me…and I’m thankful.

3. Get healthy. I stopped making excuses for my weight and my health. I worked through my emotional stuff with counselors until the issues from my past didn’t effect my present (at least not every time). I worked with doctors to get off my meds. I worked with a chiropractor to get my body in shape. And I’m thankful.

4. Choose healthy relationships. I deliberately chose friends who wanted to be healthy. I had to let go of some long-standing friendships because they were toxic. It’s really hard to get healthy when the people in your inner circle are not, and can’t see it. Wouldn’t it be great if, at the very moment you decided to grow, everyone you love jumped on the band wagon and joined you? It doesn’t typically happen that way. I had to walk away from people I really loved, but couldn’t be around. It was painful and lonely. And I’m so thankful.

It opened up space for me to make new, healthier friends. I thought about what I really wanted in a friend and came up with 4 things:

  • I wanted them to be able to handle my struggles without running away. I needed to know that if things got tough, they would stay.
  • I wanted them to share their struggles with me as well. I didn’t need another counselor. I needed a friend.
  • I didn’t want them to quote scripture at me in every conversation. I had been preached at enough. I certainly wanted people in my life who knew God and had a close relationship with Jesus. But I wanted a friend, not a pastor.
  • I needed them to be able to speak gently into my life. When they saw me sabotaging myself or falling into old patterns, I needed them to speak up!

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but gradually I noticed I wasn’t as anxious or mad or frustrated or irritated or unhappy.

I know life will still cause pain. People I love will die. Hard things will happen again.

But now I know how to grieve. I have good friends and a great family who won’t leave me in the tough times. I have a God who loves me more than I will ever understand. I’ve dealt with most of my junk, so when new things happen, I only have to deal with the issue at hand.

I’m so thankful!

If you’d like help moving toward a place of thankfulness, try coaching or my Relationship Groups: click here!

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole

 

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