How do you feel about your life?
From the time we are young children, we are taught to want more. Do your best in school; score the winning touchdown; never give up. We are told to do more, be better.
No longer limited to just TV, magazines and radio, advertisements can be found on every website, email, street corner and even on bathroom stalls. Daily we are inundated with ads that are specifically crafted to show us what we will be most tempted to buy, at the time we will be most tempted to buy it. We freely give our personal information to large corporations that use this data to find better ways to get us to buy their products, use their services.
All to get us to want more.
Our economy depends on this desire to have the latest gadget, the fastest computer or the coolest car. As soon as we buy the latest phone the next generation is announced and we begin counting down the days until it’s released. The excitement over our current purchase completely eclipsed by what will be replacing it.
It’s no wonder so many of us are unhappy with our lives.
What if, instead of focusing on the things we don’t have, the things we think will make us happy, we instead use this energy to grateful for everything that we already have? What would our lives look like if we chose to appreciate the people who bring us joy and support us in times of trouble? How would we feel if we were grateful for the roof over our head and food on the table, instead of wishing the house were bigger and the food fancier?
It is impossible to feel both lacking and grateful at the same time.
You simply can’t feel like you don’t have enough in your life, if you are truly grateful for all that you have. If you are able to appreciate each person, each possession, each event in your life, you will have little time to feel that you are missing out on something better.
Gratitude is a habit.
Cultivating a feeling of gratitude is a habit. We have been so accustomed to complaining about what isn’t fair, about what we don’t have, that we are not used to generating gratefulness. It’s ok if at first you have a hard time finding something to feel grateful for.
Find one small thing right now that you appreciate. It can be anything. Say it out loud, or better yet write it down in a gratitude journal. This can be as simple as a notebook you carry with you or an app on your phone where you can list things you are grateful for as you think of them. Writing them down will give you something to look at when you’re having trouble feeling grateful in the future.
I will start.
I am grateful for:
A hot cup of coffee in the morning.
Five minutes of quiet after the kids go to bed.
A sunny morning that is just the right temperature.
A weekend with nothing scheduled.
Good friends I can call when I’m feeling down.
A quick text from a friend that lets me know she’s thinking of me.
What are you grateful for?