Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I spoke to a family member the other day, and the first thing she said was, “Good morning. I’ll be so happy when I find another job because this place is stressing me out, and I want to move out of here and into my own place so bad, it’s making me crazy.”
I remember though, how grateful she was when she landed that job just a few short months ago, and I remember how sure she was that living with her partner could only make their relationship better.
As we all know, things change. And when they do, the gratitude we once felt for something we really wanted quickly wears off. Then we go back to waiting for the next thing that will make us happy, the next thing that will give us a reason to be grateful. It’s a never-ending quest. But, what if we could learn to hold onto that feeling of gratitude, to cultivate gratefulness as a way of life?
The positive influence that feeling gratitude can have in almost every area of our lives is well documented, from lowering stress and calming our heart rate to helping us connect to other people and improving our mental outlook. Even doing something as small as writing down 3 things you’re grateful for, every day for 21 days will make you happier, healthier and more productive. But most of the time, our minds are so preoccupied with our agendas or the things we want, that we forget to be grateful for what we already have.
We all have plans and dreams. We want to grow, we want to achieve. We want more, bigger, better… and that’s fine, but the things we want are somewhere out there. Whereas joy that lasts comes from the inside out. We would all do well to give ourselves the gift of living gratefully. We can start by remembering that life is a precious gift. A gift that offers countless moments in which can experience gratitude and enjoy all of the benefits that come with it. We can learn to enjoy the present moment, to celebrate our lives and the lives of those we love.
The root of joy is gratefulness… It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful ~ David Steindl-Rast
If you want more happiness in your life, change your focus. Don’t spend any more time giving your precious energy to what you don’t have. When you feel and express gratitude for all of the beauty, and love, and magic that is present in your life at this time, you will attract more beauty, more love, and more magical moments.
I challenge you to stop right now and open your eyes in grateful recognition of some of the blessings present in your life – at this moment.
I’ll go first.
At this moment, my mother is resting. I just looked in on her, saw that she was sleeping, turned the light out and left, thanking God because she is alive, and well, and here with me. She’ll wake up shortly and tell me she wasn’t sleeping and I’ll smile and say, “Okay.” My daughter is in another room playing a game on her cell phone. I feel honored to have been chosen to be her mother. The cat and dog are stretched out on the living room floor taking their afternoon siestas. They make me laugh and love me unconditionally. The air conditioner, humming softly in the background is keeping me cool and I am seated at my desk, sharing this moment with you. I am blessed by your presence.
Now it’s your turn. What are you grateful for?