Gratitudes and Successes
French for habit.
I like to think of it more as a hybrid of the words Habit and Attitude...
or the not-so-secret formula for my future success!
or the not-so-secret formula for my future success!
I don't think
nearly enough people believe in or are even aware of the power of gratitude. We are raised in a society where little focus is given to teaching our children about the power of positive thinking, the power of following your passion, the power of helping one another, and the power of forgiveness and gratitude. It takes no more energy to say a nice word, than it does to say a nasty one. And if you've ever been on the receiving end of either of these, I'm pretty sure I know which one you'd be happier to receive. Apparently it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. So save a few wrinkles and give that upside down frown a workout :-)
I feel we need
to be more aware as adults of the messages we are giving our children by our own conduct, both in private and public. Kids mimic our behaviour. Wouldn't it be great to model kind, compassionate, fun, joyful interactions for our children to learn from; rather than yelling at the cashier because you think the service is too slow, or screaming abuse at the referee on the TV because your footy team is losing, or even abusing the guy who cuts you off in traffic and makes you 2 seconds later to work? They see it all. They pick up on the subtleties and begin to exhibit what ever behaviour they see the most. And I don't know about you, but I hate conflic, negativity and mean-spiritedness (even though I have been guilty of and dedicated too much of my time to it over the years) so am now trying where possible to treat every person as I would like to be treated. Such a beautifully simple philosophy, but highly effective. And also not quite so easy.
We all make mistakes.
It's a matter of trying to catch yourself mid thought, or mid speech, or mid reaction to change your own behaviour. I almost feel the opposite to gratitude is being judgemental. And I feel terrible whenever I willingly participate in it. Just this weekend, I am shamefully sad to admit that I joined in FaceBook discussions with friends on the Aurora cinema massacre. I am not proud of the fact that I judged parents who are in the heightened state of grief and anxiety for taking their kids to the movies at midnight. Or even the Dad that dropped his baby and ran away. I wasn't there. I don't know how I would react in a time of such crisis, and I know I would hate to be judged. So today I try to be and do better.
I'm so proud of my daughter too,
she has taken to this with gusto. We are both finding ourselves having the strangest discussions with each other, stopping mid sentence, then both laughing because we knew where the conversation was going, but how hard we are trying to not take it there. Seriously, if you haven't dedicated one single hour of your life to being grateful and non-judgemental...please try it. And let me know how you go. Unfortunately it has become so engrained in our culture, how we interact with one another, what we read, see and hear in the media that it is perverse and difficult to stop once it gains momentum - not unlike an avalanche. I say grab a pair of skis (or a snowboard if that's how you roll) and rise above it as best you can. Create an environment where people know you don't gossip, or take pleasure in putting others down. Surprise the hell out of people by being an uplifting, positive, encouraging, grateful earth dweller. It just might be contagious and take off. I for one am counting on it.
I'm not asking everyoneto roll over and become a doormat (although if you go that route, they have some very nice ones with Welcome written all over them). Express yourself, for sure. But would it hurt for us to be just a little bit more mindful of the words we choose, and the way we choose to use them. The Law of Attraction states you get more of what you focus upon. Therefore, when you spend all your time complaining about the bad service you receive everywhere, you will usually get more of it. And may overlook the people offering good service. I know not everyone believes in The Law of Attraction. That's cool. You don't have to. But as many a new age guru will tell you, you don't have to believe in the Law of Gravity either, but you'll still fall to the earth with a thud walking off the top of a building. Or something like that.
Dittowhen we focus on all the negative things around us; the lack of money, the traffic, our bickering children, we forget to say 'thank you' to the powers that be** every time we can afford to fill up our car with petrol. When the traffic light stays green, or your kids are actually being nice to each other, give a little shout out of acknowledgement and you'll be welcoming more of this positive energy in to your life. If you are not keen on turning your life into a musical (? Why not??), feel free to mutter a silent appreciation instead. But I have found from personal experience that the vast majority of the population (both human and animal) do not hate having kindness thrust upon them, nor do they hate witnessing people showing gratuitous gratitude.
**Your 'powers that be' by the way, can be whomever the heck you like. You may be more traditional and thank God, Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha, even; or choose a more alternative deity such as an Arch Angel, baby cheeses, or the Goddess of somewhere from some far, far away place in another universe. It doesn't matter. As long as you believe in that power. Even us atheists and agnostics believe in something...even if it's just our selves!
How happy would you feelknowing you have contributed to making some one's day better with just a few kind words. Sometimes 'thank you' is enough. Sometimes you may need to be more expressive and elaborate on what you are actually grateful for. But surprisingly, often, those two words are more than enough. What if that someone is your teenage son or daughter, and a complete stranger took the time to commend them for being good at their job, or for doing something nice. What goes around comes around, sings the song of Karma.
Miss America contestantsmight be mocked for answering most questions in the beauty pageant with "world peace". But wouldn't it be phenomenal if we took the focus off war, hatred and greed, and put the entire energy of everyone on the planet toward love. No, I'm not suggesting we ignore the plight of those in danger, or in need. I'm suggesting by putting our hearts in a better place, we will have more to offer them. And in time, perhaps these plights might not exist. I forgive you if you think i've found a stash of LSD or some other drug left over from the 60's. I'll admit I have a Utopian view for the future of our world; but if nothing changes, nothing changes.
What if,just humour me here, what if YOU could make a difference. What if you, and me could make a difference. What if you, and me, and that person over there, and that person over there, and him just over there and her just over there, and that person around the corner could make a difference to someone. To many someones. Then those someones could make a difference to someone else. And so on.
I believe something has to give.The universe, the planets, the continents, the oceans, the people, the animals, the forces of nature, the energy, it's bursting at the seams. Stressed. Stretched to the limits. Changing under the weight. It has the capacity to ruin us or to make us great. There's all this jest about the world coming to an end in December (for the record, I've made plans for Christmas and New Years), but I like to think of it as the culmination of enough. Life is out of whack. Too many people are starving, whilst others die from excess. People are killing each other, for no reason other than something is very wrong in our psyche. To our core, we are good people, but through war, famine, heartache, violence, greed and poverty we seem to have eroded our essence. It's overwhelming, it's urgent, it's scary, and it's powerful. But I'm taking a stand. The only way I know how.
And I'm asking every onewho's reading this to join me. I'm forgiving myself for every tantrum I've ever thrown. For every angry, unkind, jealous word I've ever uttered. For every minuscule, petty and unnecessary act of rudeness and bullish behaviour. I asking for a universal forgiveness to believe that I acted then in the only way I knew how, but now I know better. I will do better. I have to expect better of myself in order to see it in others. I will make it my daily mission to concentrate on the positive (there is ALWAYS a positive). To focus on those who genuinely do their best, to appreciate every benefit I have, and to somehow (crazy notion I know) figure out how I can play a part in helping distribute the earth's resources so that we can all benefit equally from the joys and gifts of life. Let's look after one another. Let's be more rah-rah cheerleader-ish, support one another, encourage one another and LOVE one another. Make love not war (ha ha, I am starting to sound like a Carpenters song, aren't I?).
Please feel free to scour the Internetfor your own research, but I have read many articles and a scientific report or two on how being loving, kind and compassionate and GRATEFUL changes your brain chemistry. A group of boys in England took part in an experiment where they practiced meditation and kindness in the classroom everyday and it changed the way they interacted with one another. Less violence, less bullying and more collaboration. Being grateful puts you in a different mindset. Yes, I suppose it's like putting on a pair of rose-coloured glasses. But really cute ones that go with everything!
If The Shireor Jersey Shore are anything to go off, we have a generation of kids who feel life is only to be appreciated if you have lots of Dad's money, can buy new boobs, inflate your lips, be famous for doing nothing, and the world owes you everything now. Where's the gratitude in that? We need to encourage them to aspire to something better. To see the gratitude in the world in which they already live so they can actually do something a
With much gratitude, I own this bracelet. I heart Tiffany & Co.
So besides the bracelet,and living more 'in the moment' so that I can remember to act in a kinder, more loving way each day, I also keep a gratitude journal. Due to the profound effect gratitude can have on our lives, one of my habitudes is to write consistently in my gratitude journal each night before bed. I try to think of at least five things, but it is very easy to write an entire page. I note Rhonda Byrne has a suggestion to delve a little deeper with regards to these gratitudes. Instead of just writing for example that you are grateful for the sunshine today, Rhonda suggests writing what you are grateful for and why. So you could elaborate with 'I am so grateful for the beautiful sunshine as it heats up my home on a winter day and feels beautiful and warm on my skin, which makes me feel happy'. I hope you might consider taking up the challenge to be more grateful in your everyday life. Grateful for your body...
For your family...
Your material possessions...
PS. I am also trying to keep note of successes (even the small ones, as most of mine seem to be). This is a reminder to self when you might be having a bad day, feeling low or unproductive, that you can and have made achievements. And it also inspires you to see that you are on the right track, and small wins can show you are on the right path to your goals. I have used Jack Canfield as my source for this, but I feel most life coaches and success coaches will attest to this being quite important too.