For a long time, I was a person who lacked faith in people. Some would call me a cynic, I consider myself a person who has burned out more times than my mind will allow me. I have believed that the worst things will happen to me, because I have had an ongoing experience with trauma and failure in my life. I don’t believe that people will commit to what they say they are going to do, because I am usually left having to pick up work when working in teams. I lack faith in my friendships because I am treated like an option with terms like “let me see if I can fit you into my schedule,” instead of being treated like someone wants to actually spend time with me. I don’t think I can have a dating life is near to impossible due to my negative thinking and lack of faith in believing that someone could actually like me. I don’t see much hope in this world.
I have had this perspective because of years of failure, rejection, and self-hatred. I have been reminded in more ways than one that the world is not a safe place, but I have also been reminded that things can be worst. In 2012 I was homeless for 17 days because of Hurricane Sandy.
My apartment was uninhabitable and did not have heat, water, or electricity. I spent many days without a shower, until my friend allowed me to sleep on his couch at his apartment. I remember feeling like I took my small modest Long Island apartment for granted. I spent my life outside of a backpack and a prayer, hoping for something good to happen.
I didn’t understand the importance of being thankful until I experienced loss. I focused more time on thinking about what I didn’t have instead of being happy with what I did have. What I am given can be stripped to me at any time. I have to give thanks so that I am able to recognize that I still believe that good things can happen.
It is best to appreciate the small things that I take for granted as a way of showing appreciation. I recognized that my cynicism is rooted in ignoring the small things in my life. I have had a problem with taking appreciation for the things I have accomplished, the things people do for me and being present. I didn’t take the time to give myself credit whenever I achieved anything in my life. I never took time to tell people thank you when people would go out of their way for me (attending gigs, supporting my art, dreams, or just recognizing that I exist). Having an appreciation for the small things helps heal the pain I experience inside because I am able to see that things aren’t so bad, even when I am struggling.
I am guilty of expecting too much from people. I crave attention from others and expect to have the sort of friends that are available at my every call. Not only is that delusional, it is not realistic and it has lead me to feeling frustrated. I have learned that it is not my decision to determine the nature of how close a person wants to become with me. The only way I can attain closeness with someone is by being thankful that they are present in my life to begin with. I have to appreciate the terms of the friendship no matter how close or distant they are. I desire intimate relationships just as much as the next person. However, the only way I am going to be able to appreciate a person accepting a person for who they are and what they give to me. I have learned to do this not only with people, but with life as a whole. I need to see life for what it is and appreciate the time I have because it’s not guaranteed that I will live to see another day.
Putting gratuity in to action is not easy, especially for a depressed person like myself. I have used prayer and meditation to allow myself to see the silver lining in times of doubt. During this time of reflection I am able to keep myself away from thinking negatively about myself. I am able to appreciate the people that I have met, the things that have been granted to me, and the small things that I tend to ignore. The act of being thankful is an act of reflecting on what positive things I have to enjoy about myself. The act of being thankful is a time to heal from the pain that I have difficulty dealing with on a daily basis.