Attitudes of Gratitude

Pairs Well With…”If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never truly be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself.  Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.  When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu

In a world filled with chaos, violence, and severe misunderstanding, it is more important than ever to be conscious of our actions and attitudes. In an active effort to overcome negativity and spread good in the world, what can each of us offer to society?  Random acts of kindness, thoughtful givebacks, a simple compliment, love?  There’s not enough of it and anything act, any effort, is better than nothing.  We need to unify to make a substantial change, but until then, searching within on an individual basis is a good starting point.  Overall, we need to ignite a gratitude movement, and it starts within each of us.

What is gratitude?  It is the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.  (In case you’re interested, in is indeed a noun.)

How do we carry with us an attitude of gratitude daily, and exude it in an unstoppable way?

I’m presently reading a book titled Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life, a book I received the book 15 years ago as a gift, and wishing I had started sooner. There are so many valuable life lessons packed in this gem.  The book outlines how to live a more fulfilled, positive and thoughtful life through having a good attitude, but more importantly, the practice of gratitude, the hardest part to implement. This is one of those showstopping books where every page provides a learning and causes you to take stock of where you are in your life.

Here are what I found to be the most meaningful takeaways:

The more you practice gratitude, the easier it is to do.  

What it looks like:  A gratitude practice can be simple: keeping a daily gratitude journal of all the things you are appreciative for, calling a friend once a week to thank him or her for being a part of your life, organizing a Charitable volunteer event once a month.  Even easy, quick practices go a long way.

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Don’t allow suffering to blind you.

What it looks like:  There’s joy all around us. Everywhere.  We just need to open our eyes to see and experience it.  Where you place your attention is your choice.  Make sure to celebrate the things going right versus overemphasizing the wrong. Don’t let pain steal your joy.

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Appreciate the Ordinary.

What it looks like:  As the book states, “It’s hard to appreciate the ordinary, except in contrast to something hard or challenging.”  I couldn’t agree more.  Appreciate your health when you’re not sick, the person that is there for you every day, even in subtle or day-to-day exchanges, and if nothing else, that the sun is shining.  Make sure to focus solely on one thing instead of doing one task while thinking about something else.  Not only will you be more present, but you’ll also notice more.

“When we pay attention, whatever we are doing – whether it be cooking, cleaning or making love – is transformed…We begin to notice details and textures that we never noticed before; everyday becomes clearer, sharper, and at the same time more spacious.” – Rick Field

What do we really need?

What it looks like:  When it comes right down to it, there isn’t much we need: food, shelter, sleep, love and purpose.  In a daily gratitude practice, one should focus on less of the material and more of the meaningful. Ask yourself what you truly need to be happy. What are you missing? Of the things you need and have, are you taking the time to appreciate them?

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Find Forgiveness.

What it looks like:  Until we can forgive, whether ourselves or others, we will be wounded and unhealed.  It’s only when we can find true forgiveness that we can allow ourselves to move on, and forward – and be happy.  “Nothing blocks the feelings of gratitude more than anger and resentment. That is why the practice of gratitude requires the work of forgiveness.”  Forgiveness can be hard, and sadly, no one can do that work for you, but you. “Only you can come to the place where you want to forgive.”

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Embrace What Shows Up.

What it looks like:  Life throws us curveballs, things we don’t expect, sometimes at the perfect time and other times when it seems as we are at our lowest point and about to break. “Unless we embrace what shows up in our lives, we will never get the benefits of the lessons life is trying to teach us…It is only by being grateful for what is that we experience contentment, and it is contentment with what is that makes us happy in the moment – and available to whatever else life has in store for us.”  In those hard moments you don’t understand, take a minute to reflect and look for the meaning you’re intended to take out of a situation to help you learn and grow.  Everything happens for a reason.

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Gratitude, in every way, opens the heart, allowing us to become more appreciative of all the wonderful things before us.  Gratitude allows us to become better, gracious and more empathetic, which is what the world needs right now.

I encourage each of you to take stock of your lives and determine where you can offer impact, greatness, and light. #attitudesofgratitudemovement

How will you make a difference?

 

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