Gratitude- Mine and Yours
There are certain topics that, no matter how much you read about them, the importance of the message is tireless, topics like: Love. Peace. Hope. Gratitude.
I often identify with that old adage, we teach what we most need to learn. My never-ending homework, gratitude.
I don’t know if I always struggled to learn this lesson or I adopted the self-fulfilling prophecy growing up. I was often told that I was “ungrateful”. It was one of the few critiques I recall most from my childhood. I don’t know what came first “the label or the behavior” (that whole chicken/egg debate), but I know that I developed a sense of nothing being good enough that took years to shake. I got the message that I was “just like my grandmother”. She lived between Connecticut and Florida. When she was in Florida, she longed to be in Connecticut and vice versa. I began to feel like her after awhile. I wasn’t sure if it was because I was told I was like her or it was a character flaw, but I felt an uncomfortable “grass is greener” vibe for what seemed like most of my childhood. As an adult I labeled it FOMO, or “Fear Of Missing Out”…like something better was out there and I was missing it.
As somewhat of a transformation junkie, I share my own process in hopes that the journey inspires some glimmer of hope for even the most ungrateful, seeking souls out there. There’s hope for you! I was branded as a child and now live from a total state of gratitude, truly feeling I am exactly where I need to be at (almost *wink) every moment. I am grateful and no longer suffer from FOMO.
On the heels of this recent Thanksgiving, I led a workshop I created, called “Gratitude as Attitude”. The irony was not lost on me, and the poignancy of its lesson that my previous weakness is now something I am presenting to the world in a positive, big way. I am allowing myself to be seen and experienced as grateful, after all these years of being told I was ungrateful and feeling that things were not good enough. Transformation happens.
I am not talking about being thankful, like on Thanksgiving Day. I have always easily said thank you, been genuinely grateful for things and people in my life. I am speaking of a deeper sense of gratitude, as a way of being in the world; a feeling that I AM GOOD ENOUGH and my life is as it should be.
How did I get there?
I traveled to a few places that are extremely impoverished, including Nicaragua and Haiti in the last year. The sheer contrast to my life was shocking and motivating.
I acknowledged my husband and apologized for the lack of appreciation I had felt for him and our life together.
I made a commitment to myself to drop the story of not being good enough and embrace myself as worthy and amazing, therefore my life now feels amazing and abundant.
Ways to practice gratitude in your life.
- Meditate Daily on gratitude. (Contact me for a guided Gratitude Meditation)!
- Surround yourself with other people who express their gratitude regularly and who appreciate their lives, the big and the little things.
- Play the Grateful Game. At the end of everyday, connect with your partner, roommates and children or call your friends and tell each other what you are most grateful for that day. The one with the most gratitude wins!
- Keep a gratitude journal and/or an ongoing list on the fridge. Don’t censor or edit. Keep adding to it. I am grateful for…I love it when…My life feels abundant because…Don’t hold back.
- Write gratitude letters…to yourself and anyone you want to appreciate. Write them in the heat of the moment when you are gushing with love, appreciation and emotion. Save the ones to yourself and re-read them regularly. Mail or email gratitude letters to those you appreciate without hesitation.
- Give back or pay it forward. If you are grateful for the abundance of food you have in your fridge, consider donating to a food bank or volunteering at a soup kitchen. If you love sports, consider donating to a program for needy youth to learn to play the sports you grew up loving.
Tony Robbins says if you want to be truly happy, you must “give and grow”. Reports say those that give the most are the happiest. The ability to give begins with your feeling gratitude and abundance.
I know from experience, there is power in declaration. When we dare to speak our intentions out loud we hold ourselves accountable, especially in the presence of others.
2013 is just around the corner. What is possible for you in 2013? How can a powerful attitude of gratitude transform your life? Commit to it.
Fill in the blanks:
“I commit to expanding limitless gratitude in or at (my job, my family, home, my writing) and appreciating (myself, my life, my body, my relationships, my kids, the little things) more”.
According to Esther Abraham-Hicks, “every time you appreciate something, every time you praise something; every time you feel good about something, you are telling the Universe, ‘more of this, please’. You need never make another verbal statement of this intent and if you are mostly in a state of appreciation, all good things will flow to you”.
I wholeheartedly believe in the above statement. It’s the difference from merely expressing thankfulness and experiencing life from a state of gratitude. I am there now and it feels sweet and full.