Choosing an Attitude of Gratitude
”Our attitudes control our lives. Your attitude is a secret power working 24 hours a day for good or bad. It is of paramount importance that you know how to harness and control this great force.” ~ Tom Blandi, author
The Thanksgiving Holiday is just around the corner so there’s no better time than now to focus on being thankful.
Here is one of my favorite fables that illustrates how the principle of gratitude works:
The Rabbi and the Two Farmers
Once times were tough. Two men, both poor farmers, were walking down a country lane and met their Rabbi. “How is it for you?” the Rabbi asked the first man.
“Lousy”, he grumbled, bemoaning his lot and lack. “Terrible, hard, awful. Not worth getting out of bed for. Life is lousy.”
Now, the Divine was eavesdropping on this conversation. “Lousy?” the Almighty thought. “You think and say that life is lousy; I’ll show you what lousy is.”
Then the Rabbi asked the second man. “And you, my friend?”
“Ah Rabbi, life is good. God is so gracious, so generous. Each morning when I awaken, I am so grateful for the gift of another day, for I know, rain or shine, it will unfold in wonder and blessings to bountiful to count. Life is so good.”
The Almighty roared with laughter. “Good?” You think your life is good now? I’ll show you what good is!”
The moral of the story: What you focus on grows! Be grateful for all that is good in your life, and trust that more good is on the way. Expect it!
Personally, I like being around people who radiate a ’grateful, life-is-good-no-matter-what’ point of view. These folks seem to always have more than enough to be truly grateful for, too, as though their lives are moving in an upward spiral simply because they said it would.
I’ve been working with a new affirmation lately that I’ve been repeating to myself a few times a day:
“Good things are going on in my life at all times. Good things are happening today. Thank you for all of the good that is coming my way; even if I can’t see it yet!”
Whenever I remember to think or say this, or a version of it, I instantly feel lighter, because I’ve set myself up with an attitude of gratitude.
What if you and I consistently chose this position? What do you think would happen? My guess is that we’d be much happier. And we would also begin to see the appearance of those things we say we’re grateful for. This means that we actually begin to generate and create more of the very things that we put our positive attention on.
What if I Don’t Have Much to Be Thankful For?
The truth is, there is always something to be grateful for as long as you’re alive!
I was standing at the check-out counter at Subway earlier this week, waiting to pay for my sandwich. The man at the register was so cheery and friendly that I made a positive comment, “You’re really happy today.” He said, “Hey, I woke up this morning!! Everything else is just a bonus!” It made me laugh out loud because he was right! We are all given so many bonuses each day; so many chance to do things over again or to change our minds, our attitudes or our direction.
On those bad days when it’s hard to feel good about much, look for even the smallest things that are good and keep your mind focused on them. Even the small things can turn out to be big. For example, even before you get out of bed in the morning, be grateful for that favorite, old, cozy blanket. Be thankful for the bed itself, for the dog curled up on the floor, the morning sun poking through the clouds. As you do this, the little things just might grow into bigger things. Last week, I pulled a muscle in my back during exercise; so today I was simply grateful that I could easily walk from my bedroom to the kitchen and grateful for the hot cup of coffee that my husband had waiting for me.
Challenge yourself to be grateful for the smallest of things throughout the whole day. “Hey, the elevator worked!” “The car started!” “The light turned green just in time.” Have fun with it. Play. Look for anything and everything to be happy about and to be grateful for.
Try this quick exercise: Say out loud, “This is the best day of my life, thank you, thank you, thank you!” and mean it. See how great it feels? This simple act will raise your perception to a whole new level. From this vantage point, you’ll begin to notice all the positive things around you, putting you in an upward spiral of positivity versus a downward spiral of negativity. Even if nothing earth-shattering happens, you’ll be in a better mood. And this mood helps create more to feel good about.
Before you go to bed at night: write down at least 5 things that you are grateful for! Watch for what happens and see how it feels.
Switch Your Focus
When we continue to wallow in disappointment because life is hard or events don’t turn out the way we want, we can stay stuck a negative, self-fulfilling thought pattern.
Again, one of the simplest ways to switch your focus is to ask yourself “What am I grateful for?” Although this may be difficult at first, once you shift your focus, that same part of your mind that had you noticing the negatives will now supply you with better things to direct your energy toward.
Principle of Gratitude = what you focus on grows
Energy flows to where our attention goes!
The glass is both half empty and half fully. How you choose to relate to the glass makes all the difference. Be grateful for what you already have and you will attract more good into your life.
“Whatever we are waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance – it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.”
~ Sarah Ban Breathnach, Author of Simple Abundance