You may have heard or read in many self-help or self-development books about gratitude and being thankful.
I used to kind of write this step off as a bit of hokum and that it really couldn’t be that simple. But I’d say Thank You a few times a day, just in case. Nothing changed, surprisingly!
But the more I read and the more I listened to successful people’s interviews the more it always seemed to crop up. One such interview, I think it was Lisa Nichols, always stuck with me. She said it’s not just about Being grateful, it’s about Feeling Grateful, with all your being.
I thought, how in heck do you do that? I tried to feel grateful while I said thank yous to the universe, waiting to feel lighter or have an epiphany of some kind. Guess what? Nothing, nada, my life didn’t change in any way I recognised.
Then I read a book The Power of Gratitude by James Brown and everything changed. I was looking at it all wrong! Gratitude wasn’t just about being thankful for what I had, it is a way to start looking at your whole life, the good stuff, the not so good stuff, the people around you, how you build relationships and your work or business by changing your focus.
So, I was having a few relationship issues last year. Not just with my partner but family & friends. Nothing big but actually it was little comments that would normally set me off and I’d get all defensive and feel miserable for days. I felt that I was always the victim of harsh comments by the people who were meant to love me and I felt sorry for myself and not particularly open when I was around them anymore.
What a perfect way to test the theory of changing my focus with gratitude. I started a Gratitude Journal, that I had to write 10 things I was grateful for every single day. To begin with it was really hard, I might have gotten 5 straight off but then I had to really think and dig deep to find the other 5.
My first journal entry was 15th March and it looked something like this
- Met my bestie for a coffee and a chat
- Enjoyed my work today and stayed present rather than daydreaming
- Got new hoover – woohoo!
- Got new frying pan and this journal =)
- Did my coursework on time
- Finally put out new cushions and it looks fresh and fab
- Made a fresh dinner for myself – yummy!
- Posted some nice comments on my friend’s Facebook pages
- Went to bed to read instead of watching TV into the wee hours
- Beautiful day to be alive xxxxxxx
OK, so it was a start to just get ten, but you know what? I actually Felt great that I had ten things to be grateful for. I was just proud of myself for that feat alone.But as I did this every day, the more things I started to see I was grateful for.
Of course I was so grateful for the people in my life so I started listing each one individually and stated why I was grateful they were in my life. By the end of week 2 I could feel a shift. I was feeling happier more often. I smiled when I got out of bed and looked out at the fields and the view in the morning and said inwardly, thank you universe and really meant it.
Start small, if you live in a house, be grateful for that, many people don’t. If you have a car, even though you might want to change it, many people don’t have cars and have to walk for miles just to get basic necessities, like water. If you have family or good friends be grateful for them, many people have no one looking out for them. It’s about changing your perception just a little.
My relationships with my family, friends and partner have blossomed, I no longer feel a victim. There are fewer and fewer arguments or negative feelings at all. It made me realise it wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own that I had felt that way because it was the negativity, the what was wrong with my life, that I had been focusing on all along. Now it is What is Right.
I promise you now, if you truly want to feel better about yourself and your circumstances, it won’t cost you a bean. Just start a Gratitude Journal in an old notebook or on your computer and write 5 or 10 things every day for the next month. See your world shift into something beautiful and amazing, right before your eyes.
I’d love to hear at least one thing you are grateful for today and let’s get the ball rolling! I am grateful to you for reading this. Comment below
Much love & happyness