The Power of Gratitude

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Local author Dolly R. Sickles shares her perspective

Dolly Sickles

Gratitude, if you let it, can be your superpower. It’s a state of mind in how you navigate the world, how you react to situations, how you treat the people around you. You can be passionate, or dispassionate. Closed off and negative, or friendly and inviting. But me? I choose grace and kindness, and I am rewarded every time for my optimism. I had to learn patience when an accident sidelined me a few years ago with a traumatic brain injury. I couldn’t drive for a couple of months, and so our son, Peyton Sickles, got to rack up the hours on his learner’s permit. I couldn’t handle the starkness of a racquetball court or the flashing lights of the movie theater, but my family and I perfected our outdoor tennis game and kept Netflix in business.

I changed my perspective and found the good in the bad. I chose to look for the positive and was thankful for all the things I was able to accomplish. I am thankful for the time I had to recover, for my family’s ability to fill in the blanks for me, and for my mother’s happiness in hanging out with me when my husband, Matthew Sickles, had to travel. I am thankful for my memory, for the words that have found their way back into my imagination and in my ability to get them on the page.

My favorite forms of gratitude are simple and sweet. They’re meaningful moments when you need them most, like when a colleague realizes you’re having a stressful day and picks up an extra cookie at lunch, or when the kid across the street brings up your garbage and recycling cans in the rain

I like to show my gratitude (and love) through things like cookies or homemade chicken potpie. I say thank you, but I also make something tasty that’s going to fill your belly as much as my gratitude fills your heart – I hope.

Willie Nelson said, “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” I guarantee you, there’s something in your life to be thankful for. I’m pretty certain you’ve got a bunch of blessings, even if you need to shift your perspective to find them. The world is coming off an unprecedented time of stress and anxiety, of quarantining and pivoting. Life has been interrupted. Hopes and dreams and goals have been interrupted. But you’re reading this, and I’m thankful that you’re here.

My mother always says, “You’ll be as happy as you let yourself be.” I choose happiness. Every time. It just might be my superpower. 

Dolly R. Sickles is a Pittsboro-based freelance writer and teaches writing classes at Central Carolina Community College and Wake Technical Community College. Dolly also writes romance novels under the pseudonym Becky Moore.

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