Last week, I made one of the biggest, dumbest, most careless mistakes I’ve made in a long time. I reversed my SUV into our side porch. Like straight up crashed into the porch, just an inch away from nearly collapsing the whole thing. Turns out that whole “most accidents happen within a mile of your house” statistic was too generous for me. I decided to just cause the accident in my own driveway! (Insert facepalm emoji here.)
But what I did next might surprise you. It’s the last thing you’d probably expect someone who just ran into her own porch to do, but it was the most helpful thing I could’ve possibly done. Watch the video to hear what I did next and why it saved the day. Plus, learn how you can use this trick next time you majorly mess up.
Pretty surprising, right? I kind of caught myself off guard with the decision, particularly after such a disastrous moment. (I should also note that there were a few curse words yelled and a few tears shed before I started down the gratitude path.)
Practicing gratitude might seem like the last thing to do after you’ve made such a huge error. To be honest, it wasn’t the path my brain wanted to go down. My brain wanted to focus on how careless I was. How stupid. Why wasn’t I looking? Why was I going so fast? I should have known better. This is going to cost a fortune. My brain was off to the races with harsh, critical, and blaming statements.
But I know that train of thought won’t lead me anywhere good. The damage was done. And I’d more than acknowledged my mistake. So rather than let the negativity snowball for another three days, I stopped, right there in my driveway, and practiced gratitude.
I’m grateful the damage wasn’t worse. I’m grateful the porch held on for dear life and didn’t come crashing to the ground, taking our roof with it. I’m grateful the glass from my back windshield didn’t shatter. I’m grateful I didn’t hit a person. I’m grateful my car was still drivable, and I was able to get to work and see my clients. I’m grateful we have such a responsive insurance agent and a body shop nearby we trust. I’m grateful Matt answered when I called; I’m not sure I could have calmed down so quickly without him. I’m grateful for the lessons I learned from this situation. (Like don’t reverse so quickly and don’t blast Kendrick Lamar while doing so.)
Practicing gratitude when things suck is how you keep the negative contained. It’s like putting a bookend on a situation. It keeps the negative from completely taking over. You acknowledge all the crappy stuff while also seeing the good.
I talk about gratitude on Dr. Allison Answers a lot because it works. It’s proven. And it’s not that difficult.
Yes, it takes some work. Yes, it requires you to be intentional. But it’s absolutely worth it.
So the next time you make a mistake, whether it’s crashing your car into your porch, messing up on a project at work, or forgetting something really important, stop what you’re doing and practice gratitude.
It’s guaranteed to save the day. (Or at least really, really help!)
PS: Not really convinced about this whole gratitude thing? Check out the moment I started believing in the science of gratitude, realizing the hype is totally worth it.