It turns out that about once a month I find a reason to write something about gratitude. I also regularly find myself suggesting to my thought partners that they practice gratitude. Why? Because gratitude can help people achieve their goals no matter what their background, circumstances, or aspirations.
As I consume social and mainstream media, I keep coming across stories of people who are upset that their governments are telling them to stay home for the holidays, to help slow down the spread of the pandemic. Many people are complaining, and some are mourning the lost opportunity of visiting loved ones. I’ve celebrated major holidays away from my family for work reasons in the past. This year, I’m choosing to connect virtually, to help keep everyone safe and healthy.
Rather than dwelling on what you may be missing at this time of year, I urge you to consider what you have to be grateful for. Start by appreciating the things that you may be taking for granted, like a safe home, potable (drinkable) water, food security and access to safe and affordable transportation. There are many people around the world, including in the lands we call Canada, who do NOT have these things. If you do, then make a conscious choice to be thankful.
Take the time to be grateful for flush toilets in your home. I recently learned that my father grew up using an outhouse. His family finally installed a toilet in their home after he left. I never once heard my grandmother complain about raising six children in a home with no toilet. She modeled gratitude every time we met. She also modeled seeing the good in people, saying things like “they mean well.”
Practicing gratitude can start with saying thank you to those who provide a service, from your dentist to the cashier at your local store. Practicing gratitude can include thanking your friends for keeping in touch, even if now that’s likely to mean by text, email, phone call or video chat. Everyone is dealing with their own challenges. If a “like” on your social media post is all the energy your friends, family and colleagues have right now, be grateful that they paused long enough to click on your post.
When you invest your time and energy into finding things to be grateful for, you will be pleasantly surprised by the other things that you’ll notice. For the analytical types out there, I challenge you to make a record of 3 things that you’re grateful for each day, for the next 21 days. At the end of the experiment, I’d like you to go back and review your record. Note the new things that you found to be grateful for over time. Note if there was any change in the magnitude of your gratitude. I'd be grateful if you let me know how it works out for you!
The first time I tried this experiment, my “luck” increased dramatically. Noting the little things in life I was thankful for, allowed me to notice opportunities, which led to successes, and more significant things to be grateful for such as new clients.
Over time, I’ve noticed that if a person practices gratitude, it becomes a habit, one that is embedded in day to day living and work. I’ve realized that gratitude truly is the gift that keeps on giving!
Today, I’m grateful for a relatively healthy family (a pun, yet true), a safe home, potable water, food security, and a business I enjoy. I’m also grateful for everyone who invests their time in reading these blogs. I wish all of you, and all of your loved ones: health, joy and abundance.
PS - I’m also very grateful for free images on Pexels.com!