Why I’m Grateful for Me

November is the month of thankfulness. We take the time to reflect on all of the things we are grateful for, so we’ll see the posts about people being grateful for their children, their spouses, their pets, etc. These are all important things that deserve recognition for the parts they play in our lives, but the one thing that is always overlooked when we stop to think about the things we are thankful for is why we are grateful for ourselves. We don’t ever stop to reflect on ourselves and why we are proud and thankful for who we are and what we’ve accomplished. Maybe people think it’s selfish to do that, but I decided that my first post in November would be about the things about myself I am most grateful for.

I’m a giver. It’s a characteristic I get from my dad. I always want to take care of people. Seeing people hurting or in need breaks my heart. I want people to be happy, so I do what I can to make that happen. I think this is why people always turn to me when they are in need. Whether it be family or friends, they know I’ll never turn them away in a time of need, and I never expect anything in return.

This kindness extends to strangers as well. I’ll compliment strangers on a shirt they are wearing or on their manicure when I like it. I always smile at the cashiers checking me out, exchange pleasantries when they attempts to chat with me, and wish them a good day. I’m always polite to servers and tip well because I know how hard it is to work in the service industry. I’ve even exchanged buggies at the store with a woman who had a baby in a carrier because she was struggling to work it due to a bad wheel. It may seem minute to some people, but all of these small things are moments of kindness these people can take with them through their day. Knowing I may have brightened someone’s day warms my heart, and I’m grateful for that heart.

Life has a way of throwing challenge after challenge my way, and people are always saying how strong I am and how they don’t know how I overcome and do what I do. I don’t know how not to do it—how not to overcome everything placed in my way. I refuse to let anything get the best of me. No matter what comes my way, I persevere because it’s just a part of my nature. Put a wall in front of me, and I’ll offer you seven different ways I’m going to get over or around that wall.

I’m most proud of being a single mom, and this is where my resilience has served me best. I’m raising my son 100% on my own. I’m responsible for providing for his every need. Add to that the fact that my son is on the autism spectrum, and it creates another obstacle in addition to being a single parent. I don’t sit around and cry about how unfair it is that my son’s father chose not to be a part of his life or how unfair it is that my son is on the spectrum. I don’t have time for “whoa is me” because I have a son to raise. I just do what I need to do for my son. I’be worked my ass off to provide the very best of everything he needs, and I’ve fought for a decade to ensure he’s afforded all the rights his “typical” classmates receive. I’m proud of life I’m providing for my son and the amazing young man he’s become as a result of how I’m raising him. There’s no other option daily than to show up and do what I need to for my son. It’s my resilience at its best, and I’m grateful for that resilience.

While I’m caring and have a huge heart as I described earlier, I also know how to dig in and hold my ground. This surprises people who first interact with me because I’m this petite woman standing just over 5 feet tall. I’m a strong, smart woman, and if you’re wrong, I’m going to let you know. If you try to steamroller me, you’re in for one hell of a surprise. The point is that I’m a force, and I’m damn proud of that.

I’m a woman working in a predominantly male field. I’ve had to work twice as hard for everything professionally, and as a result, I protect what I’ve built with passion. I was one of the first female managers at my company, and I’ve had woman at the company tell me they admire what I’ve built; they admire my strength to go up against the men and hold my own. Hopefully, I’ve paved the way for other women to do the same. I’ve had people tell me that there are men at the company who are afraid of me, and I’m not going to lie, that makes me feel good. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not running around all day yelling and screaming at people. I’m just firm and direct. Some people can’t handle strong women, but I never water myself down or consider changing who I am because I’m proud of the woman I am—period. I’m feisty, and I am grateful for that fire.

These are the parts of me I’m most grateful for. What about you? Everyone should have at least one thing about themselves they’re grateful for. My challenge to all of you is that as you go through the month and start thinking about the things you’re grateful for that you include at least one thing about yourself on that list—just one. If you have more, even better. I get that self reflection is hard; people don’t like to analyze themselves too much, but everyone should be proud of the parts of themselves that are uniquely them. So, take some time, reflect, and make that list. You’ll be glad you did.