BY: Janis Gaudelli – “Champion of Truths, Unicorns & AWE-tism”
If you’ve been following my story here on The Daily Feels, you are aware that I have struggled pretty much my whole life with self-love. I have spent many years at war with myself. Then, at 45 years young, a book (which I wrote about in my last blog) found me and I found gratitude, and gratitude allowed me to find myself.
I owe the practice of gratitude for finding my way back to me. Let me be very clear: it’s been a hard road. The first few months of my gratitude practice were not easy, and I really struggled to come up with things that I was grateful for. In the beginning, I remember writing down the same thing in my gratitude journal each day, “I am grateful for showing up today.” Then, I moved on to, “I am grateful for making an effort to do this for myself.” Eventually, I graduated to thanking myself for doing the best I can, and after a few months of that BS, I started to dig deep.
Soulfully, I knew there were so many things to be grateful for, but first I needed to chip away at the disapproval. I decided to implement a self-experiment of sorts: six solid months spent exploring all that makes me, me! The me before self-loathing invited itself in. The me that, on good days, gives myself a literal pat on the back. The me that smiles at myself in the mirror from time to time. The me that my friends see and love. The me that pours into Kellan and materializes into something I am so very proud of. The me I don’t celebrate enough of, and lack gratitude for.
Now, when you’ve spent most of your life hating on yourself, this is a pretty gruesome process. Because, well, you don’t pay attention to your ‘good’– you focus on what is wrong with you, instead of all that is right. During this experiment, I had all-out battles with myself and the ghosts of Janis past. That war I mentioned earlier was still fiercely combative, and I was there, alone, fighting for my life. A life I had successfully built but wasn’t very thankful for.
I realized that what I had to do first was end this war once and for all. I needed to cultivate gratitude for all that I was battling against: all the setbacks, all the losses, all the should haves, all the not enoughs, all the hurts, all the lessons, all the neglect, all the unkept promises, all the self-doubt, all the disappointments, ALL. OF. IT! I needed to defeat the enemy, and that enemy was me.
I began to do something that I never thought I was capable of: I started writing thank you notes to the war wounds. I thanked ex-bosses who made my life a living hell, as they sharpened my radar for crazy. I thanked those friends who had betrayed my trust, for I will never dismiss my intuition again. I thanked the college professor who told me I sucked at writing, for she encouraged me to start The Daily Feels. I thanked all my ex-boyfriends for setting my love free, so I could meet my next love: me. I thanked a family member who just doesn’t get me or choose to, for I am at peace knowing that they don’t have to. I thanked Autism, for it has taught me compassion, patience and how to love without words. I thanked about twenty war wounds before feeling the healing effects. With each thank you note I wrote (which were more like post-it-notes), I chipped away at the self-loathing, and became grateful for the wounds.
It was Rumi who once said:
I couldn’t agree more. Once I became grateful for my wounds, I began to live on the lighter-side. I’m still healing from these wounds, and they’re still there in the form of scars, but they make me, me. They are part of who I am, and all that I am grateful for.
Side note: Kellan has a passion for reading and therefore has quite the book collection. Every night before he goes to bed, we read two books. He picks both. Over the past few months, Kellan has become quite the Suess-head. This past Sunday night, he went about the routine of picking two books at bedtime. He handed me a Mo Williams and a Dr. Suess book. The Dr. Suess book I had never seen before. I hardly recognized the title. I was certain we had never read it and I know I didn’t buy it for him. The book I am speaking about is called, “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?”. As he was reading it to me, a huge smile graced my face.
That smile led to a chuckle, because let’s face it: what are the chances of your son bringing you a book off the shelf, which you have never seen before, that’s centered on gratitude? Whereas this book was written for children, it is one, as adults, we should all read and own. This book reminds us that we should be thankful for who we are and what we have, for “Some people are much more…oh, ever so much more…oh, muchly much-much more unlucky than you!”
Janis Gaudelli is The Founder of The Daily Feels. She started this passion project to reveal the magic behind storytelling, and how truth-based narratives bring people together in the most heart-warming of ways. Fascinated by soul, depth, intellect, raw truths and rebellion with a cause. Often captivated by the awe of nature: star gazing, moon manifesting, sunset chasing, waves crashing, crickets singing. Fiercely curious about the inner-workings of the human psyche… she professionally studies human behavior for a living. Forever proud and grateful for being a mom to the force that fuels her life: her 7-year-old son, and greatest professor, Kellan.