By: Laura Miller
Do you take stock each day of the “who, what, and how” of your fabulous life? Many of us can agree that we’ve found our lives to actually notbe so fabulous at times; but in looking at the bigger picture, there’s probably plenty that we can be grateful for. Let’s examine the word “gratitude” – perhaps it’ll help you see ways that you can be grateful for things as simple as walking around upright, with all your fingers and toes intact.
Gratitude: The Art of Appreciation
I was lucky enough to grow up in a home where I was taught the importance of “please” and “thank you.” Unfortunately, I think we live in a world where some people just expect certain things and never take the time to be appreciative when they get them; or worse, they never take the time to be appreciative in general. The importance of appreciation is often overlooked. Some people don’t ever feel appreciated themselves; and therefore, they have a hard time helping others feel appreciated. At home, in relationships with family, significant others, pets, neighbors, etc., and in any work environment, feeling appreciated can help get a person through hard times and keep them focused on what is good about any given situation.
The Connection Between Appreciation & Happiness
I recently heard an employment expert on the radio say that money is not what keeps a person happy in a job. Feeling appreciated by others in the work environment and enjoying their work runs circles around getting big bucks. Many people who earn a high income don’t feel appreciated for the job they do, and therefore do not enjoy their occupation; apparently it’s as they say, “Money doesn’t buy happiness.” My friends and I tell one another often how much we appreciate the time, patience, and wisdom of one another. My husband and I verbalize appreciation for each other for the many things we do to keep our relationship going strong. It’s important to even express to our parents how much we love and appreciate them for all they’ve done and continue to do for us. To have someone acknowledge your efforts and make you feel appreciated is an important part of feeling connected to them.
Aside from people and relationships, for me it is important to have gratitude for the things that are so easily taken for granted in our daily lives. For me, the sun is a huge ‘upper’ and I like to say out loud, “Thanks for the glorious sun!” as often as possible. You don’t have to say this to anyone in particular, just put the sentiment out there. You will feel so good – I promise. My car is another object of my affection, as it gets me where I want to go, and I am so appreciative of that! I often tell my car how much it is loved and appreciated. Now you might think I’m nuts, but I’ve found that awareness of what is good in life will make you a better person and bring you joy day in and day out.
Count Your Blessings
We’ve all heard the phrase, “If you have your health, you have everything.” Gratitude for a healthy body and mind is something we are often reminded of when we are exposed to another person who is not as fortunate. Remember that whatever physical aliments you might be dealing with, someone, somewhere is probably fighting a similar or worse battle than you. When we are feeling bad, mentally, physically, or emotionally, it is a great time to get in the habit of making a mental list of all we have to be grateful for. Usually you’ll find it easy to come up with at least three things that bring you joy in your life and can be considered a blessing, and a little gratitude can go a long way in making you feel better in rough times.
Gratitude has indeed become a habit with me. I go to sleep at night with gratitude for the day, no matter what happened or how it turned out in the end, and wake up, even when it is gloomy and raining, with gratitude that another day stands before me. Embracing gratitude and using affirmations has made me a better, stronger, and happier human being. The more you focus on what is good in your life and consciously acknowledge your gratefulness for your reality, the more you will see that you can truly be a very positive force in your own life. Gratitude grows when you become aware of how it can comfort you, bring perspective about who and what is important in your life, and how you can pass this gift on to the people you love.
Take the time to get to know gratitude. You may be surprised at how quickly a little gratitude can transform your daily life. As your gratitude prospers, so will your capacity to love and be loved. Gratitude is good for all, especially you.