Does Gratitude Have
It is amazing how powerful and transformative gratitude is when
we choose to express it, pay attention to it, and experience it. I have discovered that I can’t feel sorry for
myself and be grateful at the same time.
I spoke to someone recently who had been in hospital for a few
months. When he was asked what he appreciated most about being out he said, seeing the stars, listening to
children laugh, and hearing dogs bark. Wow! Think of all the times when my neighbour’s dog has barked and I wished
the neighbour would do something. There are so many of the simple things we take for granted that we could choose
to be grateful for each day.
There can be many reasons (i.e. excuses) we have for not focusing on what we're grateful
- We don’t think about it and just take
things for granted.
- We're too busy and stressed out.
- In these days with lots of people going
through tough times we don't want to brag about how good we have it
- We focus on all of the bad stuff in our
lives, what needs improvement, the many things we still have to get done.
- We're waiting for things to work out
perfectly (which they almost never do)
- We get embarrassed saying gratitude’s and
wonder what others will think.
While all of these reasons could make sense
and could be understandable, they simply get in our way of tapping into one of the most powerful emotions we
have access to in the power of gratitude.
Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles and co-author of
the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, said that gratitude is the
single most important ingredient to living a successful and fulfilled life.
Not only does being grateful make us feel good, it's also one of the greatest attractors of all the good stuff that
we want in our lives. Things like abundance, love, peace, health, success, relationships, and more. The more
we focus on what we already have and what we appreciate and think of the wonderful aspects of our lives, the more
we end up having to be grateful for.
are you grateful for?
We can expand our capacity for gratitude in
our lives by creating simple habits. It doesn't really matter what we do or how we do it, just that we
come up with easy and meaningful ways to focus on what we're grateful for all the time. Below is a short
list of some different possible gratitude practices. Pick one, use many, or choose something
- Practice random acts of kindness and do
something for someone just for the sake of being nice!
- Write cards or emails expressing your
gratitude for others and do this for no specific reason or occasion
- Meditate/pray and focus on what you're
- Have everyone at the dinner table share
something they're grateful as you eat
- When you're together with your family
play this grateful game. A good time to do this is when you are all in the car
- Ask people what they're grateful for
- Use a gratitude journal and write in it
regularly first thing each morning or last thing at night.
While so many of us understand and know about
the power of gratitude, it's the practice and expression of it that really has impact. When we take the
time to think about, feel, and express our gratitude and appreciation for life, others, and ourselves we can
literally transform our lives and relationships in a beautiful way.
We always have Christmas later than the 25th of December because our family lives interstate and they
have Christmas with one set of parents and then usually a week later we have our Christmas together. One of my
cherished moments this year was our grand daughter who is 8 years old. We had our family dinner together, and then
just as we were about to participate in our gift giving she said, “Wait, we haven’t done our ‘I appreciate you’
yet”. Receiving and giving of that appreciation to each person in the
room was more important to her than the contents of the boxes. What a
wonderful gift to give to each other – to build another’s self worth. These affirmations of appreciation will last
a life time!