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For those of us living in the United States, this week we will sit down and celebrate a holiday devoted to Thanksgiving. We will be reminded of the importance of gratitude and many of us will engage in the ritual of gathering around the table to share what we are most grateful for.
Gratitude is clearly the theme if this week and I, not surprisingly have been thinking a lot about gratitude. To me, gratitude is more than just saying Thank you or being appreciative of the big things in life. Gratitude is a way of being. It is a way of approaching the world from possibility rather than from negativity.
- Saying thanks to someone as they hold the door for you when you are running late.
- Hugging a friend who has gone the extra mile for you.
- Reminding yourself that even though your partner didn’t load the dishwasher the way you would they did load the dish washer
- Noticing a blue sky out the window in the midst of a long meeting
- Appreciating your mom helping you when you need it, even though she kinda drives you crazy.
- Recognizing even though it is cold, rainy and miserable outside but the coffee shop is serving your favorite coffee.
- Watching your partner play with the kids while you cook dinner.
- Giving your child a high five as when he gets his answer right on his homework.
I believe gratitude is a choice. Quite honestly, sometimes the last choice we want to make. For some people it is the default to be annoyed, unhappy and miserable. Because it is the default mode it feels ‘easier’ to criticize your partner rather then approach them with love and compassionate. I would argue the word ‘easier’, because viewing the world with negativity is anything but easy. But because it is our default response it does require more effort to remind ourselves to be grateful when it isn’t obvious
Gratitude isn’t just about saying thank you. Gratitude is a lifestyle choice.
My challenge to you is to continue the tradition of naming what you are grateful for AFTER the holidays to move the attitude of gratitude into your daily life. And when I say challenge, I mean challenge because it is hard. AND as someone who practices gratitude daily I know it can be life changing. I know appreciating the little things; loving those we are with no matter what and enjoying the small perks in the day make all the difference.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful gratitude filled week/month/year!