Last week I mentioned that my son was getting married. You’ll be glad to know that all went off well, and the rain let up enough for us to have the wedding photos taken outside. It was also an opportunity to celebrate my eldest daughter’s birthday. As I looked around at family and friends, I was filled with a great sense of gratitude, blessed to have such an occasion to come together. After recent times it was good to realise how addicted to people I am!
Having such blessing close at hand reminded me that often, we are driven by the things that we don’t have. The things we think we need. It is important that we also understand what we already have in our hands. I realise that I can be so consumed with looking for the thing over the horizon, that I fail to appreciate the blessings right in front of me. That is not to say that we should not pursue our dreams or goals. It is more that, when we do achieve them that we should celebrate them.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie
Melody has experienced a lot of hardship in her life, but she has learned to frame what has happened by adopting an attitude of gratitude. With our view fixed on what we lack, we can end up missing the gems that we have in our hands. To reframe our world, we can start by being thankful for what we have. This gives us a sense of the abundance around us. The strange thing is that this abundant view of life is contagious. With this view, you live not from scarcity but from abundance.
When we live from an attitude of gratitude, we reframe the world. The result is more joy, more happiness, because we can celebrate the now whilst still looking to move towards a better future. Setting goals is great, it is also important to think about what it will mean when you achieve them. Being thankful for friends, colleagues, and family changes our interactions with them.
Ask yourself: What are you grateful for? Who are you grateful for?
As you reflect on these questions, I would encourage you to write down your thoughts. This fixes them in our minds and has a cascade effect as we think of more things and more people. Whatever we focus on expands. We can choose to focus on what we do not have and on perhaps the perceived lack in our circumstances. Often when this is what we choose to focus on, the fruit of those thoughts tends to be fear. Fear is usually a terrible reason to do something and often leads to bad decision making. Focusing on the good, those things we are grateful for, leads to seeing even more to be grateful for and changes the attitude of our hearts.
Every circumstance in our lives can be viewed through a different lens. Which lens to choose is your choice. The lens you choose to look through makes a difference to how you will approach the challenges and opportunities that come before you.
As my friend and mentor John C. Maxwell says, “the way you view things is the way you do things.”
Being grateful is directly related to your health and your happiness. According to a study in Forbes magazine, gratitude increases our happiness by 25%. Gratitude is not reliant on your circumstances it is independent of them. It is possible, in the middle of the greatest challenge, to adopt an attitude of gratitude. You will see things you wouldn’t otherwise see and experience clarity where once there was fogginess and uncertainty.
It doesn’t require the larger things in life like celebrating a wedding to experience gratitude. There are many small things we can be grateful for. The small things do add up resulting in a different view of the world.
Practice being grateful, it will change your entire perspective.