The Importance of Gratitude

I recently spoke with a coworker that said there is literally nothing she can do right in the eyes of one of her children. Nothing is good enough or done fast enough. And nothing she does is appreciated or viewed as meaningful.

Needless to say, she was upset. She feels both guilty for not living up to her daughter’s expectations (however unrealistic), and responsible for her daughter’s sense of entitlement, selfishness, and unwillingness to entertain any viewpoint but her own.

Surely we all have someone come to mind when hearing this. It may even remind us of ourselves at some point.

This gave me pause and helped to reflect on the importance of gratitude.

As I’ve gotten older (and maybe a little wiser), I’ve noticed how important it is to be grateful for what we have.

I’ve realized the profound impact that gratitude has on how happy we are on a daily basis.

I’ve learned that it’s especially important to appreciate the little things, because I constantly look back and realize they were the big things.

I’ve noticed that we often fail to appreciate what we have until we have lost it. That we crave experiences, objects, or relationships, only to grow bored with them. And the search goes on….

So we seem to always look towards our next goal, relationship, or possession for happiness, not realizing that ceaseless change is not a reliable way to be happy in life.

I’ve learned that if you want to be happy, you have to learn to appreciate what you have in your life right now.

Not later, not tomorrow, not this weekend, not when things get better, not when you get the job, the degree, the girl, or your next material possession – right now.

Unfortunately we spend our time forgetting this or overlooking it, and the horror is, that we succeed. We find a way to avoid being happy while trying to become happy. The result is us being far less happy and fulfilled than we could otherwise be.

Those of you who follow my writing (which I appreciate very much) may noticed that I advocate seeing things as they are, but not worst than they are.

There is no doubt that our minds and lives are largely shaped by how we use them. That what we’re telling ourselves, or not telling ourselves, largely determines who we become.

And that changing how we see the world, is often as good as changing the world.

Give it a shot…

Instead of dreading getting up tomorrow, driving in car that you don’t like, to a job that you don’t like, with people you don’t like, try to look for what you do have instead of what you don’t have.

Try to walk out your door tomorrow, take a deep breath, and smile. Try to look for the positive, and when negative thoughts start to creep in, remind yourself that there are an almost uncountable number of people that would trade places with you in an instant and consider all their problems solved. There are people that wish they could have even your worst days.

Every day when leaving for work, I close my front door, pause, and smile. I make a deliberate effort to appreciate myself and my life. I’m grateful that I have a job, and that I’m not walking to it (although I’m grateful that I’m capable of walking to it if I ever needed to). I’m grateful to even be in a position to pursue an education or to share these words with you. But most of all, I’m grateful for the people I have in my life and the time I’ve spent with them. I make it a point to let them know I appreciate them, as it’s amazing what a few words can do for someone else’s day.

Being grateful is another rewarding tool of positivity and one of the quickest and easiest ways to lift your mood.

Those who practice gratitude and appreciate life never experience an impasse and are truly beautiful.

Gratitude expands the heart and makes us modest and humble. It allows us to focus on the abundance in our lives and celebrate now.

Photo by Carl Attard from Pexels

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