One of my New Year’s resolutions is to feel true gratitude for the life I live.

I’m the type of person who lives in the future, always thinking of the next step. 

This summer, I’ve finally learned to appreciate the present and feel content. I’ve worked so hard and have an amazing life. It’s not perfect, but whose is? 

As part of the 30-Day Writing Challenge I must express gratitude to three people. 

It’s easy to see that the grass is not always greener on the other side, when I think of how thankful I am for the home I live in, my true friends who really get me, and Sia for singing the album I’m listening to. 

When it comes to making my gratitude public to specific people, I have to be clever to avoid revealing too many intimate details. 

After all, I’m sharing this for the world to see (read). For now, I’ll focus on the three people who have impacted me in three very different ways. 

To the person who taught me to accept what I cannot change,

I am a very stubborn person, but eventually I understood the meaning of the Serenity Prayer. Desperate to make you understand that I was unhappy and how I needed your help, I failed to see what was clear from the start.

Selfish people are selfish. Boom! I know, it sounds so obvious, but it never hits you that the person constantly gaslighting you and making you feel like your feelings and experiences don’t matter is no different than any other egoist.

I used to believe that if I just figured out the right way to phrase my words, in the right moment that you would see how you were hurting others. 

The truth hurts. Nothing I did was ever going to work, because you can’t make people change. People can only change when they want to, like the Grinch. 

Cindy Lou Who didn’t make him change, he still stole the toys from under her tree. No, it was the sound of the “Whos down in Whoville” singing together, not caring about the missing presents that made his heart grow three sizes. 

I won’t blame you for me missing the signs, and living in denial. I mean, I can, but I choose not to. Without you, I may not have learned to accept people as they are, for who they are – not who I want them to be. 

To the person who told me that I’m beautiful,

Thank you. I don’t feel beautiful most of the time. I don’t really value my physical, outward appearance as much as I probably should. 

I’ve begun to pay more attention to how others view me, from their perspective. Though I will never allow the opinions of the superficial to change me. 

I do enjoy knowing that there are people like you out there, who spread love and happiness wherever they go. 

I aspire to be like that. I like letting people know how amazing they are, especially when they don’t realize it themselves. 

Somehow, I still struggle to treat myself the same. I guess that’s why it’s so amazing that you told me, to my face, that you think I’m beautiful. Pardon me, know that I’m beautiful. 

You don’t say it with ulterior motives, meaning you don’t expect a compliment in return. You accept my “thank you”, and when I run off to my next activity you aren’t mad or sad that I didn’t repeat your compliment. 

You know that’s how true compliments work. No expectations of reciprocation. 

We can be open and honest and kind to one another so effortlessly. Thank you for waiting for me to open up to you. Some flowers take time to bloom. 

To the person who finally got me to let go of my shame,

I used to feel awful when I didn’t meet someone’s expectations. My expectations are so high, and if I could surpass them, that meant everyone else could too. I was wrong. 

I realized that my standards were unrealistic for myself. I realized that my own expectations can’t apply to everyone else, because everyone has their own. 

I wanted to please you, without even noticing this habit of mine. I’m a people-pleaser. Ugh. I can’t stand that term. I do not live to serve others. 

Bound in the chains of unspoken standards, it was suffocating. And, when I thought I was free, I saw the shackles were still tight around my ankles. 

You pointed to those shackles, and expected me to keep them. You couldn’t understand why they bothered me so much. And, that’s okay. It’s not right, but it’s okay, because I only felt their weight because of you. 

Accustomed to the feeling of metal against my skin, I moved forward and barely remembered their existence. 

You saw them and knew what they meant. I’m sure you have your own shackles, and for whatever reason you wanted me to keep mine, but I denied you anyway. 

Just as I have my free will, you have yours. Though you cannot accept this truth, yet, I do. 

I thank you for giving me the thoughts, feelings, and experiences that lead me to the path I’ve created for myself.  

This post is part of my 30-Day Writing Challenge (Day 7).

Make sure to check out my previous post on this month’s 30-Day Writing Challenge!

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