Happiness can be found,
even in the darkest of times,
if only one remembers to turn on the light.
If you are anything like me, you are a predominately positive person (wow, so many p’s!).
You love to laugh, you roll the windows down on summer days, you sing at the top of your lungs. You would be the first person to pick your friend up if she was feeling down. But, you are also human. And, if you are anything like me there are days when you find yourself stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts. Maybe something went wrong at work or you had a fight with a family member. Maybe nothing necessarily happened to cause this pattern of thinking but it seems impossible to make your way out of the downward spiral.
First, let me assure you: it is not impossible.
Close your eyes and visualize with me for a minute. Think of your heart, your mind, and even your life in general as a big, beautiful bowl. What does the bowl look like? What kinds of things are in this bowl? From the day we are born we start stuffing our bowls with something, anything to fill the space. Be honest with yourself here. Answer truthfully. You would be surprised at some of the ingredients we harbor in our bowls without being aware of it. Greed, guilt, self-deprecating thoughts & behaviors, hungers that could never be satisfied regardless of how full we pack our bowls.
A year ago if I were to show you what was in my own bowl, I think you would be very surprised at what you saw. A heaping serving of insecurities topped off with several scoops of anxiety, and let’s not forget to mention the sprinkles of everyone else’s opinion of me which I held onto so tightly. Normally, I would be all about the excess sprinkles but not in this case.
The human soul has a ferocious appetite. We desperately want to feel full, so much so that we are willing to curb our hungers and desires with whatever is readily available to us in that instant. Most of the time these “snacks”, if you will, do a poor job of holding us over. They do not fill the void that is left in our hearts and minds, because no matter how much we have of these things, we never seem to have enough. We are left starving for more.
Only one thing has the capacity to fill your bowl and satisfy that emptiness, that longing in your soul. That one thing is GRATITUDE.
Gratitude is the conscious decision to be thankful for what you have and where you are in the present moment.
Our culture is constantly telling is we need to have more, strive for more, be more! And that’s just not true. There is a crucial difference between progress and pressure, and its important to realize you can have one without the other. It is perfectly normal to set goals and to have aspirations, but we start to get in trouble when we think our worth depends on their achievement. You are worthy because you are you. It is as simple as that.
I present a challenge to you today. (Be a Barney Stinson, accept the challenge!) Remember that bowl we were picturing earlier? Find yourself a real one. Find one that speaks to you – the color, the pattern, the shape, whatever as long as it stands out to you. This will be your bowl of light for the next week.
Each morning I want you to write down three things you are grateful for. It will be most beneficial if you do this right when you wake up! That way your day has already gotten off to a positive start before you even have your morning cup of coffee. These affirmations of gratitude can be for anything; they can be for your job, your home, your health, your mom. Literally anything, as long as they are genuine and from the heart.
From here, take each slip of paper and read it out loud seven times before placing it into your bowl of light. Studies show that it takes reading something at least seven times before it really starts to stick in our brains. So feel free to read it aloud as many times as you want, just as long as you make it to at least seven.
Hearing yourself repeat the statement “I am grateful for __________” over and over again will help you realize how much you have to be thankful for, and how much you truly value those aspects of your life. By the fifth repetition I am usually smiling from ear to ear! When you focus on the positives, you see that their significance completely overshadows any areas of confusion or doubt or insecurity which might have been there before. Light beats out darkness every time.
Over the course of the week you will train your mind to let go of the negative thoughts and trade them in for a more consistent course of positive thinking. As you get into the morning routine of filling your bowl with light, love and gratitude, you may find yourself thinking of even more “thank-you” notes you would like to add throughout the day. That’s amazing! I encourage you to go above and beyond!
The bowl of light concept has honestly changed my whole perspective on life. I wake up every morning, write down another three things I am thankful for, and I feel full before my feet even touch the floor. The rest of my day is no longer spent trying to fill a void or achieve something outside of myself because I am content and so SO grateful for what I already have.
I wish you all the best! Know that you are not reading this by accident. If you’ve found yourself here today reading this article, I hope that you give this a try. You have nothing to lose and more than you can imagine to gain!
I would love your feedback!
Comment below about how the Bowl of Light Challenge has brightened your life 🙂
Author: Renee Mills
Author Bio: In case you don’t know me, my name is Renee. I will also answer to Little Red, Rey, and Hey You With The Face. I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember and an avid over-thinker with a wild imagination since even before that. It has been only recently that I’ve begun to channel that creativity into something positive. Something that can hopefully help make somebody’s day a little brighter! So far it has been a wonderful adventure, but the journey is just getting started.
Link to social media or website: https://www.instagram.com/reneemills/