I’ll admit it, I’m not grateful as much as I should be. I know the power of gratitude, sincerely being thankful for the people, situations and things in my life. Yet somehow when I’m dealing with life, I forget to focus on all the wonderful as I’m worried about the challenge at hand. I know that I may remember more often than others but it isn’t about being better than someone else. My desire is for thoughts of gratitude to become second nature….the habit I can’t seem to quit. I wrote about it in my book, It’s Your Life….Own It! and I talk with others about it. Even so, I know I can improve in finding the joy in all situations.
I was thinking about this as I was in the car pool line at the high school. I was running through a list in my mind of the things I’m grateful for. A boy walked across the street and down the sidewalk and as I watched him I got tears in my eyes. He was probably 15 or 16 and he had a prosthetic leg that attached at his upper thigh. I felt foolish and embarrassed about some of the things I had concerns about. Upon seeing him, I immediately was thankful that my children were healthy. Then I thought of the boy’s parents. I don’t know if it was an accident or disease that caused the loss of his leg but I was sure that his parents were grateful that he was alive. As devastating as the loss of a limb would have been for the entire family, there’s no doubt it could have been worse.
When we are going through a difficult situation in our own life, often times our focus in on the challenge. As we think about that, we attract more and more similar thoughts. Pretty soon we are feeling overwhelmed. Our friends and co-workers tell us to “keep our chin up” or “think positive”. We give them a half smile and say I know. But inside we are screaming, “how the hell am I supposed to do that?” It seems impossible but it isn’t.
The key is to think or do something that makes you feel better. I’m not suggesting that you can go from feeling overwhelmed to being happy but you can move in that direction. Finding a thought that provides you some relief is a step in the right direction. That could be as simple as recognizing you don’t have to deal with the situation this very moment. It helps, when dealing with a crisis to identify in clear terms what your desired outcome is. Once that is done, you can identify one small piece of the situation that you can be grateful for. You can decide if there is an action that you can take, no matter how small, that will move the situation forward toward the result you desire.
Then there are situations that appear to be so dire in our minds we simply can’t find any thoughts of relief. These are the times you need to redirect your focus to something you are grateful for, even if it is unrelated. For your own sake, you need to feel better. You are responsible for how you feel and only you can change it. The wonderful part of this is that it doesn’t take much for us to change how we feel. It could be a phone call to a friend. You could take a walk in a park or spend a few moments playing with your pet. Whatever works for you is appropriate. Everyone has something that they are grateful for and activities they enjoy. Turn to those to help clear your mind and move your emotions to a place where you can take action.
What are you grateful for right now? Give yourself a couple minutes to focus on that and improve the rest of your day. Many blessings to you.