I once had a Life Coach who suggested, for effectiveness, to jot down a Daily Top Six. In an effort to stay organized, the Top Six would list the things that were important to accomplish on that day. After a while, I began to include a Top Six of things I was grateful for. I did this every morning. The list soon grew to 11—my favorite number. Nevertheless, it helped fuel my brain with the type of spiritual protein I needed. What you focus on grows, after all, so why not begin the day with focusing on the things you’re grateful for? (Especially when you find yourself believing you must change your body to fit a certain ideal.)
When we’re locked into to thinking we’re not perfect; when we crave so deeply to be something other than we are right now; when we insist that there is something wrong with our bodies—many gay men are lost in this endless cycle—we lose sight of how valuable our lives actually are, and more importantly, how they can be.
Your Family: Many gay men relish their extended families; those close friends and associates that may not be part of their genetic family. However “family” has played itself out in our lives, we all know who are “family” is. Relish their presence in your life today.
Your Partnerships: Who do you love? Who loves you? How do you express your love? How do you receive it? Check in with yourself and consider all the relationships in your life—from personal to professional. Give thanks that they are there. Give thanks that you are on the receiving end of goodwill.
Your Health: No brainer, right? But think about it: how often do we really give thanks for our good health? Or, our ability to use our arms and legs; our eyes to see; our nose to smell; our tongue to taste? We can take these things for granted. Our bodies are so perfectly designed. When we spend time criticizing it, believing that it MUST look a certain way, we’re dishonoring ourselves. Be grateful for the body you have—today. Right now. Not when the six-pack abs arrive. (Be grateful for that, too, if you must, but stay in the “now.”)
Your Connection To Something Good: It’s a spiritual smorgasbord out there. Chances are, if you’re committed to doing the inner work, and evolving spiritually, you inherently believe in something good, something bigger than, well, you … and just having the perfect glutes. (They’re nice, but I’m not sure how much they’re giving back to the world—well … on second thought …)
That You’re Alive—Relish It: Go the mirror and take a look at your fine self. Really—do it. Stand there for about three to five minutes, take a deep breath and actually look at yourself. (In the eyes, mister!) Now, think about it: the YOU that you are … the YOU that got you up this morning … the YOU that got you through your day … the YOU that has been breathing and operating in the world—all that you’ve seen, said, felt and more—on this very day is unique. The YOU that you are is not an accident. There is NOTHING wrong with you. You’re life is not spinning out of control because you’re biceps aren’t “big enough.” So, express some gratitude for your life—not just your muscles. If you need a little push, take note: a report published in UNAIDS, WHO and UNICEF in November 2011, and that refers to the end of 2010, notes the following: There are an estimated 34 million people living with AIDS; 3.4 million children live with AIDS; there were 1.8 million deaths related to AIDS in 2010. Being fit and healthy is one thing, but really … we need to be reminded to keep in perspective.
(For fun, play the Gratitude Experiment—video above—and express gratitude to somebody else in your life. See if they are able to “receive” your praise.)