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I have talked about practicing gratitude before, now I want to discuss a way of doing that. Too often, we wait for the big events to feel joy: Graduations, weddings, promotions, the long-awaited vacation. All of these are great things to enjoy. They are also things that don’t happen every day. In the grind of everyday life, we fail to notice the small things that bring us joy. I have found if I am mindful of the small joys in life, my overall sense of gratitude is much higher.
You may think that you don’t have any small things to bring you joy in a normal day, but I would argue that is because you are not really searching for them. It is easy to become overwhelmed in the day-to-day activities and miss the moments you could have. I want to use an example from my own life this Christmas Eve.
My children are avid computer gamers. We are blessed that they both have their computers set up to play. This year, my daughter wanted a new chair and my son a new desk. Despite the current delivery log jam, both items arrived before Christmas. They arrived in two large boxes and there was no hiding what they were. It’s a family joke to call any such present “a tie”. My son’s solution? Open “the ties” on Christmas Eve because “we don’t want to spend all Christmas putting together ties”. We agreed.
Now, any parent who has put something together on Christmas Eve (or anyone who has assembled any furniture), knows that this can be, and often is, a frustrating process. It never seems to go right. Well, December 24, 2021, in the Stephens household was no exception. However, there was little frustration to be seen. Even as things did not go as planned, the whole family felt a strong connection as we did these tasks together. My daughter and I took the chair, as my son and wife are the more mechanically inclined. We had our own difficulties but enjoyed our father and daughter time. In the other room, despite some deconstruction, mother and son were also enjoying themselves. It took a couple of hours, but both items were completed with enough time for mom and dad to watch Trading Places, our Christmas Eve tradition. Everyone in the family commented on how nice this experience was.
Yes, it could have gone the other way. Instead of enjoying each other’s company and holding on to the feeling of fellowship, any of us could have focused on the petty frustrations of the mechanics of the process. But, instead, we were blessed to share these moments. It was a small thing that turned out to be one of the best Christmas gifts imaginable.
It’s a funny thing about joy: even when it is small, it is huge.
Bryan is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and National Certified Counselor (NCC). He has been licensed since June 2000. He is also involved in training new therapists as a Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor (CPCS) since 2011. He earned his Bachelor of Science in 1992 from Florida Tech, and his Master of Arts in Psychology from the Georgia School of Professional Psychology in 1996. Bryan started as a case manager before becoming a therapist, working in community behavioral health, where he practiced as part of a multidisciplinary team consisting of other therapists, case managers, nurses, and doctors. It was in this environment where he learned to treat the large variety of issues brought to the clinic by a diverse population. Bryan currently has a private practice in Marietta Georgia, seeing adults.
Originally Posted at TalkForwardPublished in