Before we went out for the night, a friend asked to borrow some earrings. "Go ahead," I said. "Take whatever from my jewelry box."
She came out of my bedroom wearing some gold, dangly earrings I had not worn in probably two years. To be honest, I forgot I even had them.
"Love these!" she exclaimed, twisting her head to show them off. "Keep 'em!" I answered. "I don't wear them anyway."
Delighted, she gave me a hug.
We went to a party that night, and I was surprised to hear how many compliments those earrings received. Damn, I thought. Maybe I should've kept them.
A couple of days later, I hopped online to get myself another pair, but they had been discontinued—I couldn't get them anymore.
I had to laugh. It took someone else to show me what I had—and that's just for a dang pair of earrings. Always looking for the life lesson, I thought, Where else am I overlooking the gold in my life?
Here's how to dig for your own underappreciated gems:
1. Freshen up your gratitude list entirely.
If you make a gratitude list, you might find that you're showing consistent gratitude for the same aspects of your life, such as health, family, and friends. And these are incredibly valuable parts of our lives! But recounting the same things day after day can get us into a gratitude rut. What else can you be grateful for when journaling, meditating, or reflecting?
Try to come up with 10 things you've never expressed gratitude for before. Here are some I came up with today:
- My Nespresso machine (so handy—and I love the pretty capsule colors)!
- The WhatsApp text chain I have going on with my four sisters. They're pretty funny… and always happy to see a pic of my dog after the groomer.
- House of Cards Season 6.
- The totally convenient $5.99-for-two Dominos pizzas ongoing special. Yum!
- The fact that New York winters are cold as heck yet pretty sunny nonetheless.
2. Picture losing it all.
There's an old saying I like to repeat: "Imagine if you lost everything you had… and then got it back again." I mean, how panicked do you feel sometimes when you just misplace your cell phone?
What about everything else? Imagine if you lost your best friend. Lost a limb. Lost your job. Lost your access to food and water. When Hurricane Sandy hit NYC and I was housing my friends in a "safe area" with water and electricity, we took nothing for granted. This stoic exercise is jarring—and gives you a dose of perspective like nothing else.
3. Share your gratitude.
Gratitude shared is gratitude doubled. This will take you to the next level in your appreciation! Do you tell your co-worker how funny he is and how that helps you get through a long week? Have you told your S.O. specifically what she does that makes you feel warm inside—and eager to get home after a long day? Have you told a relative why you're especially happy to see them this Thanksgiving?
Don't assume people know anything! We have to tell them. Another benefit? This is how you regret-proof your life. Too many people wish later in life that they expressed their feelings more.
The moral of the story? There's more gold in your life than you realize. So keep that spade handy—what you keep uncovering will astound you.
Susie Moore is Greatist's life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday for her latest No Regrets column!