A week or so ago I was overcome with emotion when a young lady began to cry as she reached a point in her life where she was about to give up. She was looking inward, recognizing things which are irrelevant in the big picture such as the amount of money she “held to her name.”
Then just the other day at the gym a man approached me asking whether or not I enjoyed living in Utah. Certainly, I exclaimed asking why? He had moved to Utah from New York and also identified his enjoyment for the lifestyle Utah offers. He suggested he had just met a person who doesn’t like Utah at all? After further discussion, he learned this person hasn’t enjoyed anywhere they have lived! He went onto say, “Isn’t it interesting how our attitude brings fulfillment of our hearts.”
These stories along with others that come to mind as you read are the basis for me writing today on “An attitude of gratitude.”
May I begin by reminding each of us that our minds have an amazing capacity to notice the unusual, to orient ourselves positively through thought. I will also suggest that the opposite is just as true. Simply put, the more we see the things around us, particularly the beautiful and wonderful things in our lives; the more they become visible. As we see (concentrate on what we have or the beauty around us); we inevitably become happier.
Gratitude is living with a feeling of thankfulness for all we have. Grateful hearts are quick to acknowledge the kindness and help they receive from others. With this attitude, our expressions are mirrored and magnified by others lending to opportunities we have never dreamt of. Where there is gratitude, there is courtesy, and you will find concern for the happiness and well-being of others. They then in turn will reflect that on you.
Enjoying a grateful heart is the beginning of greatness! Gratitude builds humility through recognizing acts of kindness, acts of service, or simply sensing the genuine care coming from another. I would argue that gratitude is the foundation of building faith, of increasing courage, of finding contentment, of being happy, of expressing love, and in finding our satisfaction of well-being. Carrying a grateful heart encourages outside reflection and acknowledgement of those who have so richly blessed our lives.
A grateful heart will even show gratitude for adversity. It will realize the strength that it brings to life. A grateful heart will pray for (seek out) guidance for the blessings that are derived from the adversity that comes as a part of everyones life.
In the Fiddler on the Roof Tevye sang, “If I Were a Rich Man.” In the lyrics he begins by suggesting God made many people, many poor people. He said there is no shame in being poor but no honor either. He then dreams of being a wealthy man and all he would do with the wealth. What is most important is how he concludes his song.
Lord who made the Lion and the Lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am.
Would it spoil some vast eternal plan?
If I were a wealthy man.
If in life we concentrate on what we don’t have, or what we could have, rather than expressing gratitude for what we do have; we lose out on the beauty of life and the abundance that exists to those who are grateful no matter their standing.
Diversity of mankind is what makes life so interesting, gratitude for all we have no matter what it is opens the doors for us to understand who and what we can become. When we learn to express gratitude, or live with an attitude of gratitude; we find a path full of happiness in every journey we take.
I watched a video of “people on the street” in New York City who expressed what they are grateful for. Here are some of the responses:
Job, wife, health, transportation, car, lunch, breakfast or dinner, muffins and doughnuts, life, family, a bed, simple conversation, home, light, love, parents, macaroni and cheese, to be on the planet at this time, God’s creations, opportunities, birth of kids, overcoming, friends…
Here is my recipe for finding happiness and abundance in life:
As I stated above, our minds have incredible capacity to orient our lives; we need to be aware how to move it positively. Do we take for granted the beauty of this world innocently? Think of some of what we may be missing everyday: flowers, trees, birds, clouds; even those we love. Because we see things everyday; we actually see them less and less. I have personally become aware of this only when things I held gratitude for were taken away; then to realize how they had become invisible.
Those who live in gratitude everyday have a way of opening their eyes (mind) to see the wonders and beauty all around them. It is as if they are seeing things for the first time as a child does, or someone experiencing something new.
Rather than concentrating on what you don’t have as the young lady whom I came across, look around you, notice the people you care about, notice the fragrance of the flowers as you pass, listen to the song of the birds. Even little things such as the blue of the sky, the green in the leaves, or the white of the clouds will become enjoyable.
Every sight, every sound, every touch, every taste, and every smell opens new understanding. As we open ourselves, giving thanks for the beauty of this world; we not only live in thanksgiving, but we invite all around us to participate in its abundance…