In this blog, “The Art of The Well Lived Life,” I searched the term and discovered I’ve written over 16 posts that mention gratitude. In prayers, I’m always grateful. In retrospect, though I broke with tradition this year and didn’t share something I’m grateful for each day, I did feel grateful…constantly. Gratitude changes outlooks, it changes lives. (click to Tweet) But, that really can’t be the catalyst as to why we give thanks. Gratitude comes from a pure place, one that lacks expectation or return.
I find it curious that, as a society, we always look for what isn’t right. We look for the flaw, the problem, and often, even if there isn’t a problem, we are sometimes frightened into thinking there is one, often by the media. We worry. It solves nothing. We are, by and large, a neurotic mass of medicated, commercially addicted, woeful, empty souls. Is it because we don’t focus on gratitude? Is it because we don’t see what is good and right, but sharply drill into the things that could be better?
As a former quality assurance manager, I experienced the good, the bad and the ugly up close. Trained to meticulously see detail – something that came naturally – I found the gift was also the curse. My team looked for what was wrong. All day. Every day. This is not good for a person. It reinforces your brain to find fault. Eventually, I began to wonder why anyone would buy our product and asked to do some sales work in the field. In speaking with the clients, I found people were thrilled with the product. It suited their needs. It fulfilled their requirements. I had overshot the critical discernment in the lab. The experience drove home the ideas that balance is key and whatever you focus on will fill your life, so don’t focus on rejected product. (click to Tweet)
It is with a full heart of gratitude this Thanksgiving week, that I offer you 7 tips for keeping your eye on the good:
Shift your focus. Instead of looking for what’s wrong, look for what’s right. It’s an easy, subtle shift that can be achieved by being mindfully in the moment. If it’s an undesirable moment, take solace knowing it will pass. Oh, it’ll pass if it’s fantastic, too….but just linger in the appreciation a bit longer.
Celebrate it. Celebrate wins…revel in them and soak them in. We often brush the wins aside and move on to the next thing. Life is not a game of “Whack-A-Mole.” Slow down and appreciate the things that go well. You’ll probably discover they multiply.
Be childlike in your appreciation of small things. It doesn’t have to be the lotto, a simple flower will do. Maybe it’s the way your pet greets you at the door, the shared smile from a passing stranger. Pay attention and make a cheerful mental note of the small wonders in life.
Stay curious. New experiences create new opportunities for gratitude. Try new things. Push fear aside. Keep your life fresh.
Mind your mouth. It’s an interesting practice to be mindful of the nuances of speech. Use positive words. Not “I want to” but “I will.” Be aware of how you speak of yourself. Would you speak of others that way? Be kind and champion YOU.
Notice life’s gifts. Notice the gifts that randomly appear. Notice the gifts other people give you. Notice their intentions behind their help. Be thankful for it all.
Help others. It’s contagious. It feels good to give freely when it’s your choice to do so. Audrey Hepburn said, “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” When you lend that hand there will be at least 2 people who have something to be grateful for.
So, as you sit down with your family on Thursday – even the family members you wouldn’t normally sit down with – remember the tips, keep your eye on the good, and have a blessed day, my friends.
With Abundance and Gratitude,
Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who champions others to follow the path less traveled; the path that leads straight to their joyful hearts.♥ Contact her for a gentle hand holding or a swift ass kicking.
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