How My Contacts Teach Me Gratitude

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately focusing on gratitude.

Finding gratitude

I’m finding that I’m having to literally retrain my brain to think of the positive rather than the negative in my life experiences. Truthfully, I’m just exhausted from things in my life feeling so hard and taking so much perseverance.

Intentionality

I’ve spent many of my more recent years in complete survival mode where I robot-ed along each day taking care of everything and everyone... oftentimes putting myself last. And, I just don’t want to live that way anymore.

Anyone else feeling me on that? For me, feeling gratitude during happy moments is easy. I’m really good at counting my blessings during those moments in life that require no effort; however, it’s the more challenging moments in life where my gratitude has to be more intentional.

The difference between thankfulness and gratitude

Around Thanksgiving last year, I started wondering about the difference between being thankful and having gratitude. As I started to be more conscious about having feelings of gratitude, but using the word ‘thankful’ interchangeably because of the approaching holiday, I looked up the difference.

Here’s what I found out: Being thankful is a thought and having gratitude is an action.

Learning gratitude with my contacts

I have a love/hate relationship with my contacts. The love comes from being able to see more clearly with them than without. That’s my number one priority with my contacts... seeing clearly, right? Right. BUT... these things are just not at all comfortable. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t remove, clean, and replace my contacts at least three times.

Conscious of my attitude

Here’s the deal... I wear a newer type of contact lens where it’s permeable, or hard, on the inside with a soft skirt for comfort on the outside.

These lenses work like magic when it comes to my vision. On a good day, I can see 20/20. It’s rare, but it does happen. Most days, I see around 20/40 and that’s something to celebrate as well! With a prescription of -15 and -16, it’s impressive to say the least.

Contacts can be frustrating

I can easily be grateful for the amazing gift of vision these contact lenses bring to me. It’s in those more difficult moments where I’m sliding my contacts from side to side trying to adjust them and trudging back to the bathroom mirror to take them out... again... to clean them and try to make them comfortable enough to keep in without feeling tortured all day.

The reality of it

I literally wear a piece of hard plastic on my eyeball all of the waking hours of my day. Sometimes I forget why I do that. And, I forgot that it’s going to feel uncomfortable sometimes.

I’m not gonna lie, taking out my contacts a few times throughout the day can be really, REALLY frustrating. It never seems to happen at a convenient time, and it can get even more complicated with wearing makeup.

Remembering to accept the inconvenience and discomfort

But, when I take a deep breath, step back, and remember to be grateful for what these contacts do for me, it’s much easier to accept the inconvenience and discomfort. That’s practicing gratitude, and it’s really been a great tool for helping me be more at peace and less anxious throughout my days.

I am legally blind without my contacts and can see really well with them. That is a gift. Period.

Why skip the glasses?

You may be wondering why I don’t just toss my contacts and wear glasses instead. There are a few reasons for that.

The first being that with my extreme myopia, or nearsightedness, the farther away my corrective lenses are to my eye, the less they work. In other words, having a contact directly on my eye allows me to see more clearly than having glasses lenses an inch from it.

Secondly, my prescription is so high that my glasses are thick, heavy, uncomfortable, give me headaches, and make my eyeballs look demagnified. Those things aren’t really very appealing to me either. Contact lenses really are my best bet for vision.

Hopeful

As a new year approaches, I’m more than aware that there may be a few difficult things here and there. But, I’m even more aware that there will always be joy and peace if I prioritize those things. That helps me to be hopeful and excited about what’s to come.

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