When discussing gratitude, I see patterns in how people react. Some proclaim that they do exercise enough gratitude, while others insist that they have nobody to thank for anything because they did it all themselves. Meanwhile, others reflect that, while they are grateful, they are still unhappy.
These are all inherent contradictions.
Unhappiness cannot linger in a grateful body. It may pass by once in a while, but it never finds a pillow to rest its head. In the same way, happiness cannot linger in an ungrateful body. It seeks out the comfort of a thankful heart.
Being thankful for what we have invites more of what we want into our lives. I am often surprised by the people who practice thanks as an hourly habit. No matter how dire their circumstances may be, they calmly and confidently conquer the storm. Where do they get that strength from?
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light!” – Albus Dumbledore.
They get the strength from the light they turn on inside themselves that reminds them that they are blessed, even when their blessings appear to be few and far between.
When you wake up in the morning, be mindful about how you start your day. Do you grunt at your alarm clock and bury your face in the pillow? Does your spouse have to drag you kicking and screaming out of bed? Do you huff and puff and blow the house down?
Stop. Rewind. Proceed with more caution.
How we live our days is how we live our lives. If we wake up in a state of frustration, we will likely face more frustrating challenges throughout the day. We won’t smile at the people around us, and they certainly won’t smile back. We will see the world in dim lighting at best, and even the things we usually enjoy will bring us angst: “Yuck! Why is my favorite morning coffee so bitter?”
Instead, if we make the choice to begin each day with gratitude in our hearts, the lense by which we view our world will quickly shift. We will pick up on beauty we never noticed before… a bird chirping a lovely tune, a pretty design in our cappuccino courtesy of the handsome smiling barista, a series of fortunate events: “Is it just me, or is this day going exceptionally well?”
Everything in your life, good or bad, is drawn to you by virtue of your thoughts and actions. Choosing to adopt gratitude in your thinking will very quickly reflect into your actions, and will consequently manifest more good or more bad in your future.
- When you wake up tomorrow morning, whisper a thanks for the rising sun. If you’re tired, say another thanks for being alive for another day.
- Remind yourself of your blessings and commit to sharing the love with another person today. If you are struggling to think of a blessing, whisper another thanks for being alive. Did you know that the probability of you existing at all is zero? Dr. Ali Binazir writes that existence is a miracle akin to “2 million people getting together each to play a game of dice with trillion-sided dice” and all coming up with the exact same number. Yeah. Swallow that pill.
- When you feel yourself inching away from gratitude, (for example: to complain about your dogs or kids being too wild in the morning), pull yourself back in. Say thanks for every small thing you can think of: “Thanks for my hand(s) that can hold. Thanks for my foot(feet) that can walk. Thanks for my wheelchair that can roll. Thanks for my food. Thanks for my hair. Thanks for my coffee,” etc.
- Think of a concrete way to achieve your commitment to share the love today. When you choose to open your eyes to see how you can extend kindness, plenty of opportunities will present themselves to you.
- Do your random act of kindness.
- Say thanks for being able to do it.
- Go through your day in this light and end your night on an equally thankful note. Remind yourself of the good that came out of your day. Do not dwell on the negatives.
- Fall asleep with the word of thanks of your lips.
- Repeat this 3 days in a row, then:
- Come back and tell me what happened.
And remember… we design our own luck!