Sunday, March 25, 2012

Poor Me

I was having a bad day. I didn't get enough sleep on the previous night. I had a crunched work day that went from 8:00 a.m until 6:00 p.m. A neurotic colleague caught my ear for 20-minutes and complained to me about something to do with animal crackers. Don't ask! And, I didn't make it into the final round of a writing contest, I really hoped to place in.
By the time I got to the grocery store that evening to buy food for our empty refrigerator, I was in full self-pity mode. You know how the monologue goes, "I'm tired. I'm bored. I can't afford an iPad 3. I'm sick of my life. I need a change." Each statement igniting another poor me thought.

After I put a carton of strawberries on the check-out counter, I turned my head and saw the person waiting behind me. She was a midget with short orange hair. She needed to carry a basket as opposed to pushing a cart because she wasn't tall enough to reach into it. When she pulled a box of cereal out of the basket, her hands shook and her fingers were misaligned. She wobbled back and forth as she stepped closer, and it looked like she had some type of neurological impairment.

Reality slapped me right out of the, my life sucks, attitude. This woman had to walk through life being noticed because of her difference. It was hard for her to move and she was handicapped from doing many simple things that I take for granted; like being able to get a glass from a high kitchen cabinet and peeling a potato without her fingers shaking. Then I thought about the reasons for my glum mood: being a little tired when a warm bed was waiting for me in a beautiful home. Working a long day in a professional career when many people are unemployed and college graduates can't find jobs. Having to listen to someone drone on about something stupid when many can't even hear; and losing in a contest. Was I really upset because I didn't win a contest? At that moment, I kicked my wounded outlook to the curb and decided to turn it into one of gratitude.
Although I don't want to sound like a talking self-help book, I do have so much to be grateful for. I'm not disabled in any way. I have two healthy sons, a good marriage, food when I want it and on and on.
I left the grocery store feeling much different than when I entered. That night I re-started an old ritual. It's not a new idea, but it's one worth mentioning no matter how many times it's been discussed. I'm taking a minute before drifting off to sleep to be thankful for ten aspects of my life. And it really only does take a minute. Even on the worst of days, something positive can be rendered, whether it be a smile you receive if you're sick, a neighbor who helps in a disaster, a teacher who aids your child if they're having trouble learning.
It's often hard to remember just how good we have it, especially when we're feeling disappointed and sad. Let's share some statements that just might turn a sour attitude around. I'll start:

I really need new office furniture and I can't afford it. There are people in this world who don't have any furniture.
Picture Taken from The Guardian Weekly
"I come from a village in Rutshuru District and I am here living in this school with my children because of the war. I have absolutely nothing and have been living in such terrible conditions for more than two months." Jacqueline from East Congo, Africa


No Greater Love by Mother Teresa--the teachings from a woman of our times who I'm sure didn't think, poor me, too often. 


When I'm feeling down, this classic song always lifts my spirits. We can't have a kick back song list without Louis Armstrong's: What a Wonderful World:



  1. Hallelujah! I try to start each day thinking about something I'm grateful for. Somehow it helps me get off on the right foot. It is so easy to get caught up in our disappointments when I find that, most often, it was my expectation of how things would be that trips me up. If I just take the time to accept what I've been given in a day, I find I am more content than when I compare what I got to what I expected or wanted.

  2. Great post, Peggy. An attitude of gratitude paves the road to victory over disappointment, depression, frustration, etc. And, as you have pointed out, when we look at what others have to live with, or without, it's not difficult to conclude that we have it pretty good in comparison. Sure, there are people who have more, who seem to live charmed lives, but are they truly any better off than we are, any happier or more fulfilled? Probably not. So instead of comparing our circumstances with those we think have everything, we need to compare them with those who have next to nothing. Often those people show more gratitude for the little they have than we do for all our blessings. I start the day with a few minutes of prayers of thanksgiving before I do anything else. It's a great boost for the soul and spirit.

  3. I needed that what-up call today. Thank you.

  4. Hi Peggy,
    What A Wonderful World is one of my favorites songs and also in my repertoire. You are so right. It is a times when we think life sucks that we should open our eyes and look around us.
    A very well written and touching article. I will think of ten things to be thankful for tonight. Very good advice for us all.

  5. Hi All ~ Great comments! Let's keep the positive thoughts going! ~

  6. Today started out as one of ‘those’ days. Why do I work so hard for so little reward? Why do I bother when nobody else does? Why do all my neighbours have bigger houses, nicer cars, blah, blah, blah? I’ve just read your post, given myself a big kick and feel so much better. Thank you!

  7. Hi,
    I am following you back. and Thank you. If you'd like please add you link to my " Spring blog hop", to get more followers, its a pay it forward kinda thing.
    Thank you.

  8. So true. Most of us have pretty lame excuses to be complaining about anything. Seeing something like what you saw always puts my life in more perspective. I don't have all that much compared to a lot of people, but I still have way more stuff than I really need.

    The Dog Lived (and So Did I)
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  9. Peggy,
    Saw your link on Book Blogs and I'm so glad I did. What a lovely post. Thanks for giving me a reality check to start my day.

  10. Thanks for the reminder of the benefits of a gratitude list. I like to do mine in the morning so it sets the tone for the day.

  11. Wow -
    Peggy thanks for the much needed reminder. It has helped. My 2nd daughter passed away and my wife has a heart condition. I've been losing sleep as well, but I feel grateful that she's here today... sleeping... but here :)

    Thanks for the refreshing morning post.

  12. Hi Lee ~ I'm so glad this post helped. My mother lost her youngest son and husband in one year--very hard. Somehow she manages to carry a sunny attitude no matter what, however. She's a wonderful inspiration. I wish all the best during this difficult time. ~ Peggy

  13. Hi Lee ~ I'm so glad this post helped. My mom lost her youngest son and husband in one year. Somehow she manages to maintain her sunny attitude, however. She's an inspiration. I wish you all the best during this difficult time. ~ Peggy