How to Be Grateful: 4 Steps to Living a Life of Abundance
I have heard for many years about the elusive gratefulness. “Be grateful” was a statement whipped at me as a child to teach me about the value of hard work and a dollar. It was a sword wielded to put me in my place when I wanted more as I got older. It was an empty statement hurled at me with the force of a wiffle ball to explain an abstract concept that made your life better. Needless to say, I didn’t get it. It didn’t make sense to me. Be grateful and I’ll be happy? Am I supposed to just figure out a way to convince myself to be happy with my life because “it is what it is”? Then they would say, “You have to enjoy the journey.” Okay, now you’re just repeating a bunch of neatly packaged quotes because you don’t really know how to tell me what you mean. There are actually times when this seemingly benign comment can be particularly injurious. Telling someone to be grateful for what they have when they can’t see the forest for the trees, is cruel. I didn’t know how to really be grateful. I could have made a list, but it wouldn’t have changed anything. I could make a daily Facebook post about how wonderful my life is, but it can sometimes be worse trying to live up to the pristine images we see and create on social media.
Has anyone ever felt this way?! I seriously felt like this for so many years and then…when I finally figured it out…I wanted to scream, “Why didn’t you just say that?!” So I am. I am going to try to help you get on your way to pursuing all of your hopes and dreams in such a way that you feel amazing all the way there and you feel motivated to stay on the journey.
4 Steps to Living a Life of Gratefulness and Abundance
- Learn to recognize it in yourself: Gratefulness and Abundance are feelings. It’s a state of being and less of an action. So you have to find it first and then when you know what it is, you can look for it. This can be a process, but it’s a fun one. What are things that you can do that make you slow down and calm and stop thinking for a minute? Do you enjoy that first sip of coffee in the morning or that feeling when your head sinks in the pillow at night? How about when you go for a walk on the perfect day? Do you have a friend that can really get you laughing? Do you see where I’m going? Find those moments in your life.
- Create Consistency: Start acknowledging those moments in your everyday life when you feel good and make them even better. When you have that first sip of coffee, where are you? Are you sitting in your kitchen? Your office? How about turning some great music on, or going outside? Maybe you like that moment after a run, how about laying in the grass for a minute and just enjoying a great job taking care of yourself. Start doing those things all the time, look for them, make them even better, make them consistent. You will start to look forward to those little things. Recreate those moments often. Sometimes when I find myself hunched over my computer with my eyes glued open because I’ve been staring at the computer so long, I simply, look out the window, and take a few deep breaths. Really deep breaths, stretch my neck from side to side, roll my shoulders back and let my eyes focus on something far away outside my window for a minute or two. I have an intricate understanding of the lives of the squirrels, birds, and bunnies in our neighborhood and I’m always the first to notice when the neighbors dog sneaks out.
- Partner with someone: We often forget how communication is therapeutic. As you begin this journey, remember that there are other people in the same place, and looking for similar things. Talking with people about your experiences will help you to understand them more fully. Look for someone who will try new things with you, will find local deals on meditation classes, salt caves and share them with you. Will make a date to go for a walk on a new path he/she discovered, or go to a presentation at a local library. Heck! Someone that will hold you accountable to doing things that are new and interesting and for you! These are people who will trade babysitting with you so that you both can have some time to read, nap,or reflect. They are on this journey and they will understand. Keep your eyes open. When you find those people, it is an awesome experience.
- Make yourself a priority and schedule it: This is the part that I think requires the most explanation. Read this carefully. You have to be healthy, happy, and feel fulfilled in order to do your job well, take care of your responsibilities, and care for others. If you don’t put yourself first. You will come last and everything else will suffer. Make a list of things you’ve been meaning to do for yourself like: making doctor appointments, finding a local book club, taking a group exercise class, volunteering, going to bed earlier, scheduling time out with friends. Create a routine around incorporating these things into your schedule. Maybe you only have time right now to do two a week, but schedule it. If you have push back from someone in your life…I know this happens…tell them in a way that they will understand. If you need help with this one, this would be a great thing to work through in a coaching session.
This process is cyclical and you will find yourself starting over again during transitional periods in your life. Is that bad? No. It means that you’re learning to embrace changes and transitions and adapt to them. It means your growing as a human being. We are all works in progress. That’s really what it means to be on a journey. When we recognize that we are feeling better because we are taking care of ourselves, we feel accomplished. It creates a momentum that bleeds over into every part of our lives. If we get off track, we just pick up where we left off and we start to feel better because we are back on our journey. That’s what it means to enjoy the journey.
To learn more…check out this webinar.