The Gratitude Perspective
I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and spent their day with family and friends. I’m sure as you all sat around the table that was abundant with food and you gave thanks for all that you have realizing how grateful you really are. On Thanksgiving Day I saw many posts on Facebook about what people were grateful for and none of those things were material. People were thankful for family, being home for the holiday, being healthy and having a great family of friends. If you gave thanks on Thanksgiving, either at the table, in your mind, or on Facebook, how did that feel?
It felt great didn’t it. It felt awesome to know that in a rushed and crazy world that you were given a moment of peace to be sit back, assess what you have in your life that truly matters and say to the Powers That Be, “I am thankful”. It feels good to realize that we have it so good. It feels good to tell others that we appreciate them. It feels good to be so blessed. Why is it then that people don’t do this every day? Why do we wait until Thanksgiving, one day at the end of November, to thank the Universe, God, Mother Nature, or whomever you choose to believe in, for all that we have? Why do we wait to tell the people that matter the most in our lives that we appreciate them?
I believe it is because we are too busy. We are too rushed. We are too focused on getting the kids ready, heading to work, going grocery shopping, taking the kids to sports, paying the bills, etc. What most of us fail to realize is all of things that make our lives busy are the very things that should be making us grateful and thankful for all that we have. We have children to love, a job that pays, money to buy food, kids who want to be active and learn leadership and sportsmanship, money to afford comforts, etc. I think if we all learned to see life through a grateful lens we would be more thankful, less stressed and more present in each and every activity in our lives.
I believe we also push back gratitude and being present in the every day because we have tomorrow. There will always be tomorrow. SPOILER ALERT: TOMORROW IS NOT PROMISED TO ANYONE. Living life as if today is the last day makes you instantly thankful. You quickly realize how great you really have it and how soon it will be all gone. I don’t mean this in a grim way or maybe I do. Maybe seeing life as if you will not live to see tomorrow is the only way you can reprogram your brain to live in the now and learn to be thankful for everything that you have. Imagine just for a moment how differently you would behave and feel if you knew that today was it, you get no tomorrow. How would that change your outlook on life?
Next time you have to do something that you don’t want to do like go to work, change not only the way you talk about it but change the way you think about it. Talk is cheap, thought is everything. Say to yourself “I get to go to work”. Just changing that one word from “have to” to “get to” changes everything. Choose your words wisely not only when you speak out loud but when you speak to yourself. Choose words that point out your gratitude and thanks. Once you choose the right words you will notice that your actions and feelings with change. You will start to live more in the moment and be happy to “get to” do whatever it is that you “get to” do.
Once your words are chosen correctly, you will notice that you will start seeing life differently. So many of us are not living for right now we are living for a list that will never end. Have you ever finished everything on your list? Probably not and you probably never will. The list is a constant in our lives that provide us with a false sense of value that we have things to do and that what we do matters. Instead of looking to a list for such validation, look within. We all matter, we all have something to contribute to our friends, our family, our community, our world. Living a life with gratitude is living a life of purpose.
Start living your life like tomorrow may never come. Tell the people in your life that you love that they matter to you and that you love them. Appreciate the “small” things in life like making your children’s lunches, petting your family animal, talking to the cashier at the store and wishing them a nice day. There are so many small things that you can do to change your perspective on things. I am not trying to change people, that is not my work, my work is to change perspectives. To get people to understand and see that they have a lot in life to be thankful for and to focus on those things instead of all the negative that we choose, that’s right I said choose, to surround ourselves with. When you learn that life is good and that you have it good, you will learn that this thing called life is amazing.