She calls herself The Doglady and you know how that would get me interested, right? I’m so happy to welcome Debbie here today. We met via a Facebook Blogging Group and I love her colourful personality and writing style. Debbie is someone who, in my opinion, lives life big and I truly admire that about her.
I’m going to let her introduce herself.
Thank you for your post and for being you, Debbie.

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DEBBIE The “Doglady”.

Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada.

Writer/blogger at THE DOGLADY’S DEN, animal lover, music fanatic,inveterate traveller, history, literature and cinema buff.   Follow me on: Twitter / Facebook  / Google+ / Gravatar link

How Gratitude Will Help You Cope

Thank you Corinne Rodrigues, for inviting me to take part in your “Living Gratitude” series. It’s truly an honour!

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 Firstly, let me tell you that I’m neither a religious nor a spiritual person. In fact, my sensibilities tend towards the cynical and skeptical. You could even call me a hardcore pragmatist.

This is bound to turn a few people off and they may stop reading, right here. No matter; my instructions for this article were to “be myself”, so, let’s get to it!

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Life is not always wonderful and sometimes, when we’re mired in the depths of despair we lose sight of how privileged we really are. There’s an old Persian proverb that illustrates this so well:

“I wept because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.”

That’s right, folks. No matter what, (unless you’re dead), things could always be worse!

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Hate your boss or your job? Be grateful you’re not unemployed!

A few positive things you can do here: – Think of all the unfortunate people who are struggling to make ends meet, because they lost their jobs. Be grateful that you’re not one of them.

-Try not to let your work situation rule your entire existence. Clock out, go home and forget about it, as much as possible. Enjoy your personal life, family and friends. Don’t make the mistake I did and let the job be all-consuming. This only leads to elevated stress levels and burnout.

– Update your  resumé.

– Look for a better job, but on your own time.

Got laid off or fired? Be grateful for the chance to start over!

If somebody had said that to me after my job was eliminated, they would have received an earful, but, once the shock wore off, a sense of relief crept in. It had been a toxic situation for a long time. A couple of other old proverbs fit well, here:

“Every cloud has a silver lining.”

and

“When one door closes, another one opens”

This was a very rough period, as my husband also lost his job. Some serious financial difficulties ensued, but we survived.

“It could be worse” was a mantra I had to keep repeating, because honestly, we were pretty stressed in those days.

At times, it was a huge struggle to remain positive, but, in the end, these thoughts kept me going. You may also find them useful: “At least we have each other.”

“At least we’re not sick.”

“At least we’re not homeless”

“It’s not the end of the world.”

“There’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

“We’re not the only ones experiencing this.”

“We will find a solution and get back on our feet.”

It took several years, but we did eventually recover. The “silver lining” in the clouds was that I started my own business, doing something I love; taking care of dogs. It’ll never make me rich, but, it pays quite a few bills and allows me to have balance in life.

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Difficulties can seem insurmountable, but somehow, “life goes on”.

Just keep reminding yourself “it’s only temporary”.

You WILL survive!

In 2010, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. (He and my mother had moved to San Diego, California – over 2000 miles from Toronto- in the 1970s.) This started a chain of events that continued for almost two years. All of the responsibility fell on me, an only child. I flew back and forth a total of eight times during that period. Imagine leaving your home, husband and business so often, for several weeks at a stretch and trying to cope with everything on your own! When the anxiety became overwhelming, I made a point of taking short breaks and reflecting on the plus side of things. This got me through the worst times and I am most grateful for:

– My husband, who kept things running smoothly at home and patiently listened to my rantings and ravings. He was such a comfort! After more than four decades together, a certain amount of complacency had set in, but we are closer than ever now. Those frequent, prolonged absences made us appreciate each other anew!

– Good friends, who took care of the clients’ dogs when hubby was working.

– Clients who were sympathetic to and accepting of the situation.

– Music! Head phones on – hard rock blasting at FULL VOLUME!! Works every time, especially when I’m ready to explode!

– The fabulous weather and beautiful scenery of Southern California. I was especially grateful for that during the winter months.

– My laptop and online friends; when I needed a distraction.

So you see, no matter how dreadful the situation, there is always something to be grateful for! ♦♦♦♦♦ Adversity shapes our characters and makes us more resilient to life’s battering ram.

“WHATEVER DOESN’T KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER.”

You know it!

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