Enjoy the first chapter of Gratitude: Yes Please, part of the Get A Grip pocket book series.
DO YOU HAVE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE?
Nearly everyone would agree that gratitude is something we all need to practice. How do we keep a sense of gratitude high in our consciousness? The tendency to compare what we have or don’t have to others, along with all the challenges we face, can get in the way of the meaning of what it is to be grateful. Your attitude is the most important part of gratitude. Gratitude has very little to do with what we are grateful for. Rather, it is our attitude towards it. No matter what life serves up at any particular moment, your attitude if positive, leads to gratitude. A negative attitude will only give you regret and emptiness.
If we only notice what is wrong in our lives, instead of what is right, we cannot tap into gratitude. Happiness is transient. If we are on an endless, constant search for happiness, it will lead to sadness when faced with the reality that there will always be a balance between negative and positive. The negatives often speak louder, drowning out what we should cherish. Fear and anger can also push gratitude aside. Beyond remembering what is good and positive, we also need to be grateful for the negatives. This can be a difficult concept to live by, yet to be alive is to experience the light and the dark. There is gratitude in being here to travel your path, no matter how difficult. That is key to truly understanding gratitude and practicing compassion for yourself and others. It is the attitude you have towards living in the bigger picture and totality of life, instead of just seeing parts of it, that brings you peace of mind and joy.
Gratitude is a conscious practice and decision. It is an active part of our mind and our attitude, and it needs exercise like a muscle. Meditation, mindfulness, and other tools for living more thoughtfully and consciously go hand and hand with gratitude. You must cultivate gratitude so that it grows stronger than the negative messaging and triggers – from both the external world and inside our heads – that can leave us feeling defeated and overwhelmed. Learning to live more mindfully is all about gratitude. When we bring a heightened sense of awareness to each day and every situation, we begin to see with new perspective and understanding.
Gratitude naturally flows from mindful living. Whether it is the flowers and trees we notice, or the kindness that someone shows us, or even the complicated situation we may find ourselves in – mindful gratitude allows us to look at each element of life with renewed appreciation. A challenge or problem, approached with a mindful, present-focused attitude can make us aware of the good in our lives that balances the challenges.
When we don’t have mindful gratitude we could forget that we DO have emotional support, or a place to turn. It is at times of crisis that it is especially important to have gratitude for friends who care about us and resources that we can reach out to. Even in the most seemingly insurmountable circumstances, there is always someone nearby who offers us the grace of the human spirit. Mindfulness and gratitude draw strength from one another. You are more mindful when you practice gratitude. You have more gratitude when you practice mindfulness.
You don’t have to deny the challenges that life presents in order to be grateful. Whatever feelings arise from our struggles, disappointments and losses are valid, yet if we practice gratitude we can tap into the acceptance of times that are difficult. Gratitude helps us in any moment or situation by bringing balance. It opens our mind and our heart to a bigger purpose and meaning of life. Gratitude for our challenges doesn’t mean we have to accept and act on everything. We can draw strength to do good for others and ourselves from the ability to effect change and spread love.
I hope that as you read this book you begin to think about the connection between gratitude and attitude – both on a personal level and on a global scale – and how gratitude is tied to service and giving. The world would be a better place if gratitude were truly a part of everyone’s lives.
To read more about Gratitude, order the book