It feels like we hear it every where. A catch phrase that feels empty. What is gratitude? What does it mean to be grateful? How do you hold onto when life is torpedoing around you? Let’s dive into the nitty gritty stages of gratitude.
It is a word that means: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
To find gratitude means to slow down. To find a new perspective sometimes. I remember talking to a friend who said, “I know I shouldn’t be complaining buuuuut…” Haven’t we all been there? Venting is perfectly human. A release of energy to be able to move on from something frustrating. I have realized for myself, that if I am “venting” to more than 3 people then it may be a real problem. Then it is time to re-assess my viewpoint. To help find that the new perspective I focus on gratitude. I offered my friend to do the same. She and I both really struggled with finding things to be grateful for.
You could argue that at times I get stuck in my world and forget most of my issues are first world problems. They are not things that matter in the greater scheme in this lifetime. I once asked my Gpapa if he loved the life he lived. He didn’t hesitate to answer, “Yes.” When I asked what his magic recipe was, I was blown away by the simplicity. Gpapa’s response was, “don’t matter.” He chose the things that really mattered to him and let the rest go.
If I choose to only focus on what really matters to me, it’s even easier to find gratitude. When I let life over-busy me or try to keep up with the Jones’s or compare myself to others: I completely lose sight of the things I actually like. It becomes so hard to be grateful when I am worried about others expectations. I believe practicing gratitude starts with understanding what gets in your way. My friend came back months later and told me that when she wakes up grateful for even the smallest thing, days are bearable.
Gratitude is a Muscle
Just like budgeting, meditating, being nice, and working out. It takes working out daily to improve. Starting super vague is totally ok. No one starts at the gym lifting 200lbs. No one stays on track with their budgets without planning and tracking. It’s not always easy to be grateful or nice. But keep trying (both.) Sometimes it will flow smoothly, and sometimes the brain monkeys will hijack the whole circus, kinda like your meditations. Keep at it. Start small. Watch it absolutely change your life, if you let it.
PS. And if you don’t know what to be grateful for today, put your hand on your heart. Feel that beat that says you are meant to be here. Your heart beats without you consciously thinking it. Your own body is a miracle. You are a miracle here. If you are reading this, I know you have a purpose in this life. You exist for a reason. Feel that heartbeat, you are alive. And I am so grateful for you.