You are blessed. Do you know that? I mean do you know it in your heart, mind, body, and soul? Many of us don’t really contemplate gratitude. It’s not that we never see what gifts are provided for us as we journey through life, but we often look at what we don’t have, rather than what we do have. This is nothing more than training. We can unlearn anything.
As we go through our days, we frequently react to what we think is missing in our relationships, at work, with friends and family, and even within ourselves. Our basic point of view about life is typically sifted through what I call the “not good enough” filter, so our lives never feel truly satisfying or fulfilling. However, this is only a point of view, a trained one at that, and as such, it can be changed. What if we could see life through the “gratitude” filter?
The gratitude filter shows us all that we truly have in life—that we are lacking nothing. When we realize nothing is missing in our lives, we can relax and enjoy life, as it was meant to be. Gratitude provides a life for us that is filled with peace, happiness, and even good health. The fact is, we are the ones with the power to change our filters!
Look for the Gifts
Why do we easily forget the true gifts in our life? The answer is training and habit. We got a little lost along the path of humanity and started thinking there was something wrong with us—that we are lacking something, or many things. This model of thinking has been handed down for generations. The trained answer to believing we are lacking is materialism as we have been taught the more we have, the more we are. This makes us believe we need things in order to be good enough and accepted in life – by others and by ourselves. With materialism, we believe we are no longer lacking. This is not a true assessment of life, however, and it doesn’t work. It doesn’t matter how many things we have, we still believe we are lacking or not good enough.
We have heard about the laws of attraction – what you put out in the world is what you get back. What we put out in the world are our thoughts and what follows are our actions based on those thoughts. If our thoughts are sifted through the “not good enough” filter, that’s what life will look like and feel like to us—it’s what we will get back. However, the same is true with the “gratitude” filter. When we sift our daily life experiences through gratitude, we get gratitude back. This brings relief, connectedness, joy and improved health. Who doesn’t want more of that?
Gratitude is an antidote for negativity. It is hard to be negative when you are being grateful. We sometimes think there is nothing to be grateful for, but that is not true. There is always something to be grateful for. If we practice being grateful for simple things in life, we can begin applying gratitude to big things, challenging things, and even sad things. The old saying, “There’s a silver lining in every cloud” is true.
Gratitude Connects Us to a Better Life
Gratitude is a magnificent way to connect us to our authentic selves. It also stops the maddening, exhausting, and expensive cycle of accumulation of material objects. If that isn’t enough, practicing gratitude enhances our lives in other ways. For instance, when we focus on gratitude as our filter for life, we experience more joy, improved relationships, and have a happier, healthier life. Additionally, negativity is reduced, concentration and motivation are improved, and we get more of what our hearts want in life, rather than what we don’t want or what our egos want.
Being grateful isn’t an opportunity to count all of our material items. On the contrary, it’s an opportunity to be grateful for all that we have that isn’t material. If you are reading this, you woke up this morning and are breathing. That is something to be grateful for since there is no guarantee that we will wake up each day. Why not practice being thankful for the simple things in life – each breath you take, the sun and the rain, nature, fresh running water, and good health for starters. With gratitude as your focus, your day will be better right out of the gate!
Practice being kind when you ask for help and being grateful when you receive it. The words please and thank you may seem obvious, silly and elementary, but these words are powerful connectors to joy and happiness and they are messengers of gratitude. Once you get in the habit of saying things like this more often, you will find gratitude automatically expanding in other areas of your life.
When we get in the habit of being grateful, we aren’t eating up our days making up things to feel bad about. We can actually concentrate on the task at hand and complete it faster and better. This frees up more of our time for relaxation and enjoyment. That, in and of itself, may be motivating to some. Gratitude is the fuel that can get you there and the gratitude filter helps us see and live life as it really is: abundant and unlimited.
How can you use the power of gratitude in your life? It’s very simple. There are many ways, but you may start with some of the following suggestions:
- Each morning when you wake, or each evening before you close your eyes, make a list of 3 things you are grateful for in your life — write this down in a journal. Initially, it may seem like a struggle to come up with 3 things, but as you practice this exercise you will find that, in a short time, you will easily come up with a list a mile long.
- When a difficult situation occurs, take a moment out of the drama and chaos and see if you can find one good thing about what is happening. This will be something you can be grateful for. As you practice doing this, it will become automatic and you will find yourself handling anything that comes your way with less drama, less uncertainty, and less stress.
- When you say something about someone or yourself that is negative, immediately say something that is nice about this person. This is something you can also be grateful for. As you practice this you will get used to seeing the good in others and yourself. It is always there, we just need to remember to see it!
Gratitude has the power to positively shape our life experiences every day. The benefits of being grateful are infinite. Each day you practice gratitude as your filter for life, the better life feels.
(I’m grateful for the time you have taken to read this article.)