By Robin Liechti
“Let’s raise children who won’t need to recover from their childhoods.” – Pam Leo
Gratitude. This one simple word has changed my life forever.
I keep hearing “be who you needed when you were younger”. My first reaction is to defend my family, because I’ve always felt I had a good childhood. We spent holidays together, went on trips, I was loved and I full heartedly know my parents did the best they could. I’m not sure if it’s a person I could have benefited from, or just the knowledge, but what I needed is simple. Gratitude. I needed gratitude for myself… for my body, my thoughts, my feelings and all of my perfect imperfections. How was I supposed to be grateful for others, things or life in general when I wasn’t even grateful for myself? How could I love someone else unconditionally, when I didn’t even love myself?
Gratitude goes hand in hand with self love. Although I have no regrets in life, while lacking both of these, it certainly lead me down some dark roads. I wasn’t treating my body with the respect and love it so needed and deserved. Instead of nourish and care for my body, I would starve it. Instead of take pride in my body, I would compare it to everyone else’s. I didn’t appreciate that we are all different and that’s what makes us who we are. I didn’t appreciate that I am the only me there is, and I relied on validation from others instead of loving and honouring myself.
As I look back on my childhood and teenage years there isn’t anything I would change, as its part of who I am now. I am still the same me, just a stronger, more accepting and loving version with a greater sense of awareness through gratitude. Practicing daily gratitude has positively changed my life and views. I’ve learnt that there is gratitude to be found in the tiny moments, the big moments, in the struggles and in who I am.
I’m grateful for being Canadian.
I’m grateful for my body for growing, carrying and delivering my children.
I’m grateful for my marriage that ended in divorce.
I’m grateful for reuniting with my first love after the previous.
I’m grateful for family dinners, hikes and adventures.
I’m grateful for the chipmunks that show up at our patio door during breakfast and dinner time. (They are pretty much our pets)
I’m grateful for having the courage to pursue my dreams and inspire others.
I’m grateful for the support from family, friends and those I have not met.
And, I’m grateful for cuddles with my boys.
I have decided to be the change, and inspire change. My goal is to encourage love, peace, joy, kindness, fulfillment and resilience through gratitude. With the unrealistic media expectations and the rise in anxiety and self-esteem issues, I feel its imperative we act on this now. I have had so much fun creating and publishing a children’s gratitude journal titled The Making of a Grateful Heart. This journal encourages children and families to practice daily gratitude, together, and really appreciate all there is and all that they are. Once I realized this journal could have benefited me as a child and could benefit my children now, I knew I had to write it. When we are grateful for ourselves, we can find true appreciation and joy for everything else the world has to offer. Without gratitude, we’re just going through the motions but never stopping to admire the little things in life. When is the last time you stopped to listen to the leaves dancing in the wind? Or watch the sunset? When we pay more attention to the little things, the things we often take for granted, we come to realize how beautiful the world really is. I wish for all children to grow up truly loving and appreciating this world as a whole.
Gratitude is love, spread it generously!