*Is jarring even a word?!
I frequently say to my 12 year old - “You can’t say you don’t like it if you haven’t tried it. If you try it and don’t like it that’s okay but if you’re telling me don’t like it but you’ve never tried it then that’s not okay.” My point is - always try your food. Yes, it always refers to food with him. Mainly vegetables, risotto, curry basically anything that isn’t chicken nuggets, spaghetti Bolognese, broccoli or raw carrots. Oh and I never have to ask him to try chocolate – he already did that!
My point is that I ask him to try and yet so often I decide I’m not going to do something without even trying it. Saying “it won’t work for me” or “what a load of tosh”. This was exactly my response to gratitude jarring (I do like this word…). I thought what a load of rubbish, I bet it doesn't even work. But then the voice that tells my 12 year old to eat his food, told me you can’t say that if you’ve never tried it. Just try it. Swallow your pride. And so I did. (please note – swallowing my pride is much easier said than done!)
I started my gratitude jar on the 15 May 2017. I put it on my bedside table and had to do it before I went to bed. The first thing I wrote was:
15/5 - “Dan saying how much he enjoys his job!”
I challenged myself to write three things (minimum) that I was grateful for that day. I use half a small post it note (because I’m odd like that) and then I fold it in half so it sticks to itself and then I pop it in the jar. Voila. It normally takes me about a minute, if that. Although sometimes it does take a bit longer as I get stuck on something negative that happened and I have to think harder about the things I’m grateful for.
The amazing thing is there are always at least 3 things I’m grateful for. Sometimes it’s Dodo (my dog), Ryan (my boyfriend), The Padis (the family I live with) and sometimes it’s the sunshine, walking in the rain (I LOVE walking in the rain) or the smell of roses but most of the time it’s the people I work with, the little comments people make that make me smile and my heart swell. The acknowledgement that yes life (and work) is up and down but that there is ALWAYS something positive.
A completely random selection of the things I’ve been grateful for:
29/5 – “For Ra! And walking in the rain.”
16/6 – “Amazing activities session! Beth/Maddie/Michaela/Roxy.”
19/6 – “Eating supper outside.”
28/5 – “Amelia having the choice of 2 amazing people!”
28/5 – “Angelique and Stephen loving Chloe.”
8/6 – “Seeing Emma and her support.”
There is so much emotion involved within the work we do at Freckles. Emotions of our families, our children and our Kaya Nannies and it’s hard not to get sucked in. This means there are huge ups and downs when people are struggling or people are loving their work. May and June were particularly challenging but the incredible thing is, I was really positive and upbeat (most of the time). I only had a couple of break downs and really that’s not bad!
All in all, gratitude jarring is the easiest thing to do and has categorically made a HUGE difference to my view on life and my general state of mind.
So, I challenge you to try it. Commit to it for a week and see how you get on. I’ve popped the instructions below - not that it’s difficult but just so you can’t us the excuse “I didn’t know what to do…”
1. Get a jar
2. If you’re like me and like pretty things then stick stickers on to the jar
3. Get some post it notes or bits of paper and a pen
4. Put it by your bed
5. Spend 1 minute writing down three things your grateful for each evening – there is no right or wrong. Whatever you write is great!
6. Fold it up and put it in the jar
7. Nailed it. Now go to sleep.
ps. just to clarify - I don't actually have a 12 year old of my own but The Padis have a 12 year old who I've looked after and more or less lived within since he was 4. Isn't he lucky?!