Gratitude is more than pausing once a year to offer up thanks. It’s more than a snappy word that rhymes with “attitude.” I am told that of all the human emotions, gratitude is the most powerful.
So powerful is gratitude, it can obliterate fear, hopelessness and doubt. Gratitude can heal a broken heart, slow the aging process and restore broken relationships. Gratitude creates hope and hope brings joy. It is in joy, not fear, that we can find strength.
Greed is the enemy. Never in this history of our country has so much meant so little to so many. The easy availability of credit has allowed us to live beyond our means. It has encouraged greed to creep into every area of our lives. Some call this affliction Affluenza—an unhappy condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.
The more we have, the more we want. The more we want, the more it takes to feel satisfied. The more credit we accept the farther we slide into debt.
The more we have the greedier we become and the more we suffer from possession overload. We let what we lack prevent gratitude for what we already have.
Affluenza in its advanced stages leads to stress. And stress leads to the breakdown of mental and physical health.
Gratitude is the antidote. Gratitude, the conscious and heartfelt expression of appreciation and thankfulness, is the number-one best antidote for dissatisfaction.
Greed says I must have more; gratitude counters with I have more than enough. Greed says my life is pathetic; gratitude says I am so blessed. Greed steals joy; gratitude restores joy.
To develop gratitude you need to talk to yourself and regularly write your thoughts. The idea is to begin to see all of life including the difficult times, as challenges, opportunities and blessings. You may also find it helpful to “reframe” a situation—to choose to see it from a new perspective.
Reframing can be difficult but is especially important when misfortune strikes. If you wreck your car, that is unfortunate. Still, it means you’re alive and that is something for which to be grateful. And you get bonus reasons for gratitude if no one was hurt, you have a good insurance policy or the car wasn’t totaled.
Authentic and heartfelt gratitude can hush up insatiable desires and negative attitudes.
For instance, you can hate your job, hate the boss, hate the people, hate the commute and hate the work. Or, you can be genuinely grateful that you have a job.
You can learn to appreciate everything about that job, even the distasteful aspects because they build your character, tolerance and compassion.
No matter what the situation, you choose your focus. If you choose fear and anger, expect depression and misery. If you choose to respond with a grateful heart, expect hope, satisfaction and joy. Yes joy, even in the midst of adversity.
Giving is the action. Want to really pull the plug on your greed? Become a giver. Giving away some of what is most precious to you—your money—is the ultimate thank-you note.
Giving allows us to take our eyes off our own situations to view the world through new eyes of compassion.
Giving is an outward expression of a personal affirmation that no matter how bleak your situation may appear, you really do have enough.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
Gratitude can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home; a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of the past. It brings strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow!