‘A GRATEFUL HEART IS A MAGNET FOR MIRACLES’
I love practicing GRATITUDE and one thing I want to say is that practicing gratitude is universal, not just for Stepmums.
I have found that having a grateful mindset and practicing gratitude exercises have made a massive difference to my overall mental wellbeing as a Stepmum and human being. It helps me to feel more focused and positive as I go throughout my day.
It easy to say ‘Oh just be grateful for what you have’, but in my experience, gratitude is something that we have to build on over time, and continue to practice for it to be effective. If we look at our lives, we probably have SO many things to be grateful for, but if we don’t focus on the positives, it is easy for the negatives to slip through.
How easy is it to let child maintenance, custody schedules or feeling like the ex hates your guts, take over your life?
YES, those things are challenging and can be draining and hurtful, but I am sure there are also loads of blessings in your Stepfamily life too?
I am certainly grateful for my wonderful husband and all that he does me. I am grateful whenever my stepkids hug me or tell me they love me, as I know I am a figure in their life they never expected to have. The honest truth is that the majority of kids, however old they are, just want their Mum and Dad to be together.
If your stepkids show you any kind of love and affection, focus on being grateful for that! Try not to push them away and work through any feelings of overwhelm or unworthiness.
You deserve to be here stepmum! You deserve that love and affection too! Be grateful for all the small wins in your family life!
Society has tried to brainwash us into thinking Stepmums are evil, and so maybe we expect the kids to hate us, when in a lot of cases this really isn’t the reality. I am grateful for so many things outside of my Stepfamily life too!
Remember, what we focus on or put our energy into will grow. It’s up to us whether we want to water the roses or the weeds!
My go-to GRATITUDE exercise is best practiced as soon as you wake up in the morning (after 10-20 minutes of meditation if possible!) so that you can reset your energy to attract a much more positive and peaceful day.
On the day of writing this, I actually did a 20 minute meditation upon waking and I can hand on heart say I feel happier, more peaceful and less reactive. Even if your day doesn’t go to plan, as I know it always can’t, at least you will be in a better mindset to deal with the challenges you will face.
It took me a while to get into the habit of practicing gratitude, but now I feel something is missing if I don't start my day like this. It actually makes me happy and refocuses my mind on everything I DO have, not the things I feel i don't.
1) I always write down my intention for the day. It could be something as simple as ‘My intention today is be peaceful and calm’ or ‘My intention today is to treat my body with love and respect’ or ‘My intention today is to be open hearted to my stepkids’.
You could even write a few intentions for the day if there is a lot you want to get out of the day. You could write health or business focused intentions as well as family related ones.
Now what is an intention you might be saying? An intention is a desire you have, that you want to come to fruition. It gives a focused energy to your day and will help to shift your mind to start attracting whatever it is you desire. When we have no intention, it is harder to be focused on what we want to achieve.
2) I then write a list of at least as many things/people I am grateful for, making sure I give a few reasons for the people I am grateful for. It has been scientifically proven that if we go into detail, our gratitude is super charged and even more powerful.
So instead of just saying I am grateful for my husband, I would say I am grateful for my husband because:
- He makes me laugh more than anyone I know
- He always supports my dreams and goals
- He accepts me truly for who I am
- He puts me first as much as he can
- He is the kindest person I know
I also make sure to include the home I am living in, clean food and water, a comfy bed and clothes to wear. There are literally hundreds of things to be grateful for in our day to day lives that make it a lot easier than it would have been 100 years ago.
I list all the things that I am grateful for with my body such as my eyes, ears, digestive system, heart, lungs etc. We forget the amazing job our body does or the everyday objects we might take for granted that most of the world doesn't. I read somewhere that something like 90% of the world is living on $10 a day and does not have access to clean water and electricity. So if you are reading this on your laptop, smartphone or tablet, you are certainly a lot more blessed than you think.
As a side note, once I started being grateful and loving my body just as it is, I found it easy to stay slim (and literally be one of those people who could eat whatever I wanted when previously I wanted) and my monthly cycle regulated.
3) Lastly, I write a list of the things I am grateful for that I don’t already have but would like in my life. I write them as if I already have them, FEELING like they are already here. I feel grateful for them like I have them already, even though I don’t.
You can put a date on them if you feel comfortable with this. If it makes you feel ‘icky’ putting a set end date then don’t do it, as this will just counteract your efforts.
This is a Law of Attraction technique.
So for example, I might say:
- I am grateful and I love being a biological Mum (yes we are allowed to want biological children even if we have stepchildren.)
- I am grateful we own the perfect home for us (sometimes you gotta let the universe do its thing rather than try and control an outcome! I used this personally - so instead of saying house X, I said ‘perfect’ home, and the right house did come along eventually for us after many stressful months. If something isn't meant to be, it usually won't be.
- I am grateful my books are New York Times and Sunday Times Bestsellers
- I am grateful my stepkids help me around the house a bit more. (I also did this one once, and IT WORKED!!!!! Can you believe it! They came home that evening and asked to help me with dinner!!)
You can also end your day on a grateful note too. Oprah Winfrey recommends that we write down 5 things that have happened each day that we are grateful for. A lot of the time as stepmum's, we think our lives are hell and our worlds are falling apart. But of course, what you focus on will grow!
When you remind yourself of all the things in life that you have to be grateful for, the world is going to bring more people and experiences into your life that you will be grateful for.
We all have a LOT more to be grateful for than we may think we do, and science has backed the fact that gratitude makes us happier, healthier and more likeable to others.
It helps to improve the immune system, increases the ability to bounce back from negative experiences and even helps us sleep better. Personally, I have found that when I focus on what I am grateful for, I bounce back quicker from crap times.
Gratitude literally changes you inside out as a person, and helps you to see the world from a new perspective. It shifts your energy and vibration, and therefore you will start to attract a new reality.
Our thoughts really do create our reality remember.
If gratitude can help our physical and mental health, AND make us a better Step-Mum, then it a must-have daily ritual in my eyes!
Wouldn’t it be great to focus on all the wonderful things in our lives, rather than all the things we wished we didn’t have to deal with?
They aren’t going to go away, and hopefully neither are me and you!
If you are in this stepparenting gig the long haul, I really do believe daily gratitude is just one tool that will help to make our lives just that little bit easier.