The Attitude of Gratitude.
Early last fall, I was pretty grumpy about life. It seemed as though everything that could go wrong did. So, at the suggestion of a friend, I started a gratitude journal. Rather than focusing on what was wrong in my life, I began looking for what was right. Each night before bed, I wrote down three things for which I was grateful.
In the beginning, I was jotting down big wins, like I survived the week until Friday! Or, I nailed a handstand at yoga. Then, something started to shift. Instead of simply nailing a handstand, I also wrote down that I was able to do yoga when many can’t. Or, instead of “making it” to Friday, I wrote that I was grateful for a company that allowed me to work from home on a Friday. I began to write more and more items, not stopping at three. By the time I finished one journal and started a second (6 months later) I was filling two-three pages each evening of things for which I was grateful.
During the course of the last 6-9 months, I began to see the abundance in my life. As my mindset shifted toward gratitude, so did my awareness of the everyday miracles God sends to us.
During one of our morning walks, my mother and I were discussing gratitude. I’d been pulled over the day before for the first time in over 4 years and was sharing my story of elation over the incident with her. Not only did I take a random wrong turn, but then I got pulled over and was late for yoga. And you know what, I was so grateful for the entire thing! I don’t know why I took the wrong turn but is it possible I avoided an accident? Everyday miracle. Why did the cop pull me over and not the car I was following? Could she have been harmed had she pulled over another car? Or maybe the citation was delaying my arrival so I could avoid another accident. Everyday miracle.
So I asked my mom, what are you grateful for? Give me 3 things. And she was stumped. After pondering it for a minute, she said she was grateful that her mother, my granny, was still alive. She was also grateful for my dad and that I was walking with her. Really mom? Now don’t get me wrong, like I told her those are amazing things for which she should be grateful. But I challenged her to think about the last hour since she’d opened her eyes and name 3 things for which she was grateful. Ah! That was much harder.
And so it began. Together, we rattled off more than a dozen items.
- We opened our eyes, which means we were blessed with one more day.
- We could breathe.
- We could see. And hear.
- We were able to walk when others are bound to a wheelchair.
- We had shoes on our feet.
- We had clothes on our backs.
- We had a roof over our head.
- We had a soft place to lay our heads the night before
- We saw the sunrise, and it was amazing.
- The air was crisp and cool so we didn’t get hot.
- We had AC because it’d been balmy the night before.
- We lived in a safe neighborhood where we could walk.
- We had cars in the driveway.
- And the list went on and on.
When you look at life through this lens, it’s hard to be ungrateful. There are definitely people who are less fortunate than we are. I realized is that my life is so full. So abundant. I lack for nothing even though it doesn’t always feel that way.
And once you begin this attitude of gratitude, it’s hard to turn it off! I went to dinner with friends the other day and my bill was a little more than I expected. I started to get bummed because I’m trying to save money. Instead, I chose to be grateful these three things – I had money in the bank to cover the bill, I had delicious food in my belly that some would kill to eat, and I enjoyed the company of my closest friends.
It’s this attitude that sustains me. It’s like a game now. God, what blessings are you bringing me today? How abundant is my life? What will I write on my gratitude list before I close my eyes? This subtle mindset shift has had the biggest impact in my life, and it can in yours too should you choose to adopt it! I encourage you to give it a try for seven days. One week – that’s easy!
So my dear readers (all 3 of you including my mom), I’d love for you to leave a comment below and tell me 3 things for which you are grateful today.