21-day Kindness Challenge, days 17 & 18: gratitude/saying “no”

21-day kindness challenge

Day seventeen of the challenge involved listing ten things you’re grateful for, and honestly I can think of way more than ten off the top of my head, from the silly to the serious: access to clean water, abundant food, my cats, freedom to read what I want without repercussions (education, especially for women, is not always so widely accessible in the world). I’m grateful for the love of my family. I’m grateful that the sun is shining today, that I’m fairly healthy, and that the computer hasn’t crashed on me today. I’m grateful that we have heat (unlike one of my friends, who is trying to fix his furnace for the second time this winter) and that I got a really cute shirt on sale for $6 on Saturday.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. When you start thinking about all the things you have to be grateful for, it makes all the “unhappy” or “un-thankful-for” parts of your life seem to recede.

Quote: “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  — Thornton Wilder

For day eighteen, we’re supposed to practice saying “no” to commitments or invitations if they’re not something truly interesting/enlightening. The idea is to be more conscious of how you spend your time. I used to feel really guilty about turning down invitations but since I read Greg McKeown’s Essentialism last year (seriously, this book will change your life) I’m much more comfortable saying “no, thank you” when I just don’t feel like accepting an invitation or opportunity will make me happy. For example, this week I was invited to a midday party that would have thrown a serious wrench in my work and sleep schedule, so I said “no”. Previously I would have felt horribly guilty for turning down a friend’s invitation, but these days I realize that if something will sap my energy or just isn’t something I really want to do, then I need to say “no” and focus my resources on the things that really interest me. (And yes–some days those things will include tea, reading and naps, in exactly that order.)

Quote: “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”  — Antoine de Saint-Exupery


  • Katrin

    That is a great list, you are making some good points! And your poor friend, he must be freezing! I had to learn to say no as well. Sometimes it is not that easy but I always try to do what makes me happy.

    • writergirlm

      Yeah, and now the heat is out in his car, too! He can’t catch a break. At least it’s in the forties right now so it’s not like we’re having a cold snap.

  • Erin

    Nothing you are grateful for is ever silly : )

    It’s funny…I just put Greg McKeown on my to read list after it popped up in an article I was reading!

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