Gratitude challenge weeks 9-12

So I’ve fallen way behind with blogging due to a bad virus, but I’m hoping to catch up a bit and thought I’d start with the gratitude challenge posts.

Week 9 : Books

I decided to change the focus of my gratitude challenge for this week because books have always been such a big part of my life. I am definitely at least 50% introvert and as such the number of books read flourishes as a result. One of my favourite sayings is George R.R.Martin ‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one’.

I love this saying because it captures exactly how I feel about books. They have taken me on so many voyages over the years, to view ancient cities through the eyes of Caesar, to ponder complex societal issues or just to encounter mythical creatures.  I am deeply grateful for the wonderfully talented authors who allowed me to tag along on their fantastical adventures.

With this in mind, some of my favourite authors include:

Wilkie Collins – pretty old school, and usually long, but writes exquisite mysteries that keep you guessing!

Donna Tartt – for sheer beauty of language, a mistress of the English language.

George R.R. Martin – because who doesn’t want to meet dragons?!?

Arthur Conan Doyle – Sherlock Holmes must remain one of the most interesting, complex characters ever created, utterly compelling writing.

Val McDermid – the Tony Hill series, totally gripping!

I have far too many books that I could be grateful for, maybe this was a big can of worms to open!!! Step away from the laptop Sarah…

Week 10 : 5 things you like about yourself

Wow, this is going to be a hard one. I am definitely not good at this kind of thing, but in the spirit of the challenge and of developing the self, I will give it a go!

  1. I like that I care about other people. It’s a big part of who I am and a big part of my life and career choices.
  2. I like that I care about animals. Although I wish I had the willpower to be a vegetarian!
  3. I like that I appreciate honesty, that it is important to me not to lie and it is also important to me that those I am close to are honest with me too.
  4. I like that I am reasonably smart, and can use my mind to learn new things and further my goals.
  5. I like my stubbornness. This probably sounds like a weird one, but actually, it makes a massive difference to my life. If I wasn’t so stubborn, I would have allowed myself to be defeated when things have been hard, especially in regards to my health.

So, that was hard, but it was a good feeling when I managed the five! Even if you aren’t keen on the gratitude challenge, why not try listing five things (or more?) that you like about yourself. It’s a really positive thing for your mental health, which we all needs to take better care of.

Week 11 – Someone who inspires you

I’m going to cheat a bit on this one too, but for a good reason – namely, that I think I can speak more from the heart by a little tweaking. I’m not going to pick one person, but rather lots of people – people who battle with their mental health problems.

Living with a mental health condition requires so much bravery, and so much energy, and often means a life time of hardship and suffering. When someone with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia wakes up in the morning, they are about to start a battle. Each day is a fight against the demons that are determined to pull them down – with fatigue, with sadness, with fear, with confusion. I have seen  this battle fought bravely in many people, and there is sometimes no war that can be won. Sometimes life is a series of battles every single day that people courageously endeavour.

To all those people out there fighting their own minds, you inspire me. You are unsung heroes.

Week 12 – Your favourite personality trait

It’s hard to pick a particular trait, because there are merits to so many various traits. I do love someone who is funny, someone is honest, someone who is clever. But I have often said, and still feel, that if I were to wish for my (future) children to have any one trait, it is kindness. Kindness makes the world a place worth living in. An act of kindness to another person might seem small and insignificant, but it may change that person’s whole world. Kindness unites us all, great and small, rich and poor. The Dalai Lama says ‘My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.’ Maybe that is all the world needs to become a better place.

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