Nowadays we’re more inclined to digest personal growth advice in blog format or by a 140 character quote on social media, although classics like Normal Vincent Peale‘s Positive Thinking Everyday and the social anxiety-busting How To Win Friends and Influence People may still reside on your bookshelf. Successful bloggers of the 21st century take inspiration from these texts, add slathers of personal wisdom and perfect the mix with a wordy dressing to encourage self-acceptance among readers; it’s a karma-inducing formula we love to indulge in.
My first experience with self-love advisory first occurred when a teenage me googled “I don’t know what I want to do with my life” and the power of SEO directed me towards Gala Darling‘s website. This moment marked a turning point for my self awareness, I was soon hooked on ‘international playgirl’ Gala’s optimistic worldview and full-time commitment to radical self-love. Like me, Gala Darling had been surrounded by negativity – some of it self-inflicted, yet crucially wanted more for herself. Clarity of thought appealed to her, as it does to myself, and the many people who bought The Secret in 2006. She transformed her inner world by adopting various universal betterment techniques such as changing her perspective on a situation, visualising goals and writing gratitude lists…
Her ‘Things I Love Thursday‘ posts were largely responsible for my new-found understanding of the power of gratitude. Prior to this, my relationship with giving thanks was casual, saying ‘thank you’ was a facet of polite behaviour and I thought nothing more of it. From Gala, I learnt the concept of ‘limiting beliefs’ – how the imaginary force you feel working against you is 100% illusory. Changing your viewpoint helps you make the most of where you are right now and being grateful for everything you’re experiencing in the present will inspire you to create more positive experiences for yourself.
What exactly is a gratitude list? It’s your mind intentionally focusing on all of the good things happening around you, what you appreciate about the present, and recognising everything you love! It can be written, said aloud or created as a moodboard. It’s saying ‘thank you’ to the universe to keep your heart happy and a request for positive experiences to come your way. It’s only cheesy if you judge yourself, and you don’t need to do that! You can do what you want – optimise your mental health in quirky ways.
Once you’ve written the things you love down, why not make it visually appealing? That way you’ll enjoy reading it back even more and I guarantee your spirits will be lifted slightly when you read it back to yourself. There’s no cap on the number of blessings you can list either! If you’re experiencing strife and wondering how the dickens you’d be able to compile a list of even 10 blessings, I double-dare you to try. It’s easier than it looks and even more necessary for those who haven’t had much to be feel grateful for prior to now. Gratitude lists are particularly effective during the latter part of the week as you can confidently answer “how has your week been?” with an overflowing memory bank of good times. I encourage you to incorporate these lists into your procrastination time too because there’s nothing like mindfulness to motivate you into action.
Above all, have fun with it. Meanwhile I’m off to watch the next episode of Orange is the New Black. Thank you, universe.