The key ingredient to life

Screen Shot 2018-06-23 at 16.23.20Gratitude.

It’s something we are reminded about as kids often. Saying please and thank you was a constant in our house growing up.

‘Don’t forget your manners.’

‘What do you need to say to __________?’

Or my favourite, ‘What’s the magic word(s)?’

That was my families ‘go to’ whenever someone asked for something without adding please or thank you, and one I used a lot in my past life as a teacher.

It wasn’t something I’d ever thought too deeply about; was just a phrase I’d picked up from home and one that all kids were able to read between the lines to understand. In fact, now that I come to think about it, I don’t recall anyone ever asking me to explain what I meant when I asked for the magic word or words.

Maybe it’s an unwritten rule that we all know about. Maybe, just maybe, it really is magic.

Words have power.

I have always known that.

As a lover of song lyrics from an early age, I have always felt the strength of words and their ability to conjure up emotions, thoughts and memories. Words can build you up, tear you down, create that incredible butterfly feeling in your core and they can do so much more.

They can heal.  They can damage.  They can praise.  They can criticise.

And the best thing about them is this: we are all in control of the ones we choose to use. We are all in control of the ones we to choose to listen to; whether it’s the ones zipping around inside our own heads, the ones we use when addressing another person, or the ones used by other people, we are in control of what to do with them and that, my friends, is definitely a some kind of magic that we can all be grateful for.

As I said, I hadn’t thought too deeply about the phrase, ‘What’s the magic word?’

In fact, there was a time, around 8 years ago, when I wasn’t thinking too deeply about anything apart from my job as a teacher – anxiety and unaddressed grief had me on the hamster’s wheel. It was a lifestyle in which I saw all things at surface level for fear of letting myself feel the deep pain I was burying.

I wasn’t happy there, bobbing in the waves, in fact, far from it, and it surprises me when I look back from today’s viewpoint, that I didn’t know it.  I’d accepted the manic lifestyle I found myself in as normal, that it was part of my personality to feel down most of the time. I’d resigned myself to spending weekends being swallowed up by the British binge culture, drinking myself to oblivion and then wearing a hangover with pride each Monday. And yet, I could never settle.

I went through a long list of jobs, countries even, before I found teaching and even then, once I’d trained, I never lasted in one place for longer than two years. I didn’t want to stop and when I did, I told myself that happiness would be somewhere else, anywhere else than where I was in that moment. I moaned about things being shit and I was blind to the good things because as far as I was concerned there weren’t any.

It was in my mid-twenties when I stumbled across a book that I can honestly say was a key component in my change of direction.  I hadn’t been reading for a while (a symptom of my depression) and although I didn’t read it cover to cover, I was at least intrigued by it’s ‘Life Changing’ claims and looked it up online. On reflection, those actions became some of the first positives steps towards changing the way I think, behave and live today. No mean feat at all.

The book is called The Secret (

And I believe every single person in the world needs a copy. In fact, I’d even go as far as to say that this book should be on the school curriculum and is one I certainly tell as many people about as possible.

The premise is simple. It’s a thought process based on gratitude and whilst I believed back then that I was grateful, really I was nursery class level grateful and this book, this outlook, well it’s beyond PHD level.

Watching the movie and dipping in and out of the book is something I can confidently declare as a game changer.

With this new outlook, I slowly began to listen to myself, I began to dream of a life when I didn’t feel shit anymore. I began to fight against the norm of depression and anxiety I had created for myself.

Now, I still live with those things but The secret is one thing that helps me on a daily basis. Now, regardless of what’s happening, I try using those magic words as much as possible every day, Thank you x


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