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Attitude of Gratitude

Attitude of Gratitude

“Be content with what you have;

rejoice in the way things are.

When you realize there is nothing lacking,

the whole world belongs to you.”

~ LaoTzu

Attitude of Gratitude

We celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday later this month.  For me, it is a reminder to pay attention to all I feel grateful for in my life.  By reminding myself of all I feel grateful for, I feel a kinship with everyone.  For each one of us contributes to the whole and when one soul is living from an attitude of gratitude, it contributes to a higher consciousness on the planet.

To be grateful means to be thankful for all aspects of our lives. Yes, even our pain and suffering.  An interesting thing I have learned in my own life and in observing the lives of those I serve, is that when we suffer, if we come to the suffering with a willingness to learn and grow, we will experience an entirely different outcome than if we come to our suffering as a victim.  When we see each experience that comes to us as an opportunity for growth, than we will find ourselves healing through the experiences of our lives.  However, when we come to what happens to us with only hurt and resentment, we will continue to suffer and continue to recreate those painful experiences so we can heal.  I believe our heart longs to learn and heal.  So, it only makes sense to look at all that happens to us using the concept of gratitude.

How many times have we wished something would happen for us, or someone would love us, or we would get that new job, only to find out that if any of those things had happened, we would have been miserable.  So, do we choose to find gratitude that we didn’t get what we thought we wanted or do we feel anger and hurt that those things didn’t turn out ?

So much of life is about our perspective.  I grew up in a violently abusive home. I could hate my parents for what happened to me.  Certainly I went through times when that was how I dealt with my feelings.  However, as a young therapist, I worked with sexually abused children and my experiences as a child growing up allowed me to be with them in their feelings from a place of knowing and compassion that would not have been the same had I not known some of what they experienced.  I find gratitude for my experience that earlier in my life I wasn’t previously able to achieve.

We need to be willing to see what we are grateful for.  Am I only willing to be grateful when things are going just as I want them?  Am I only willing to be grateful when I get that new job, new love, abundance in the way I am defining it?

One thing my practice has shown me over the years, is that, at our core, we humans can learn to be resilient.  Even after one tragedy after another, we can get back up and do what needs to be done next.  Even when we feel we can no longer bear our pain, I have seen people get back  up and move on through their lives.  And to eventually find the gratitude a situation can bring.  One of the attributes that gives them this ability is the attitude of gratitude.  The saying, “What you focus on, you become”, bears itself out, over and over.  If we continue to see ourselves as a victim and never learn what the challenge might have brought us, we will always see life from a victim mentality. And if we choose to see everything as a learning and an opportunity for growth, we can find gratitude in every situation.

When we feel hurt, confused, lonely and alone, it is difficult to feel gratitude.  However, a broken heart can bring us a heart more filled with compassion and strength. A broken heart can remind us that we are alive and that we are capable.  A broken heart can bring kindness to us and to those around us. A broken heart can teach us courage. All of these gifts from a broken heart will bring us gratitude, if we allow it.  Life is about choice.  Our choice to heal or our choice to remain victims to the events and circumstances of life.

This Thanksgiving season, allow yourself to make a list of every single thing you can find to be grateful for.  Read it out loud to yourself morning and night for a week and see what happens to your attitude toward your life.  I guarantee you that you will find more peace and contentment in your life coming from an attitude of gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving and Blessings to you,

~ Ann