I know the secret to happiness and it is easy; happiness is something every human being can attain. I can sum it up in one simple word “gratitude”. Folk like Oprah have been preaching about an attitude of gratitude for well over a decade, but it is 100% the truth and logical when you think about it.
My lowest moments of life have been when I focused on what I don’t have and I have completely ignored the bountiful blessings which surround me. Often superficial and unimportant desires such as not being able to go on a fancy trip, not being able to afford a car I want, losing out on a career opportunity to someone else and then comparing myself to others. Thoughts like I am too slow, I am not smart enough, I feel stuck, I should be making more money, I should be in better shape, I should be more assertive, I should be more confident or the pity party attitude of “why not me?”. Thinking I am good enough, I am smart enough, I am worthy enough, I work hard enough; why not me? Thinking “why not me” is better than thinking “I am a loser”, but it can still keep you stuck in the “I should” have more.
I used to grumble to my Dad about my lacking in life because my Dad always had this amazing ability to remain positive in the adversity of my Debbie Downer attitude. He would say, “If your Grandmother were alive today she would say you deserve a good swift kick in the rear end!”. He would then go onto say how lucky I was and how much I had accomplished in life and how so many people would give anything to have the life I have. He would go through the list of positive things currently in my life and from my past; he would talk about the water view I had from my then small apartment, the countries I had traveled to, the education I had, the pets in my life, the friends I have, how my parents love me, my brothers love me and he would go on and on until I knew I had no reason to be so upset with my life and what was missing from it.
We can make ourselves miserable when we focus on what is wrong and what we don’t have, but when you start to count your blessings no matter how small, you start to feel humbled and you begin to appreciate the abundance in your life even if it doesn’t portray societal standards of success or happiness.
I started a self help book by Gabrielle Bernstein, May Cause Miracles, and each day there are exercises to complete, one day I had to make a list of ten things I was grateful for (think it was ten) and I did not have a great day earlier, but by making the list of ten whatevers I was grateful for, it flipped my mood around.
When you focus on being grateful for what you do have, it is impossible to remain down trodden. Anyone can do this and I understand some of us do have exceptionally hard lives, but one can still look at what they do have.
Here is my list:
- I am grateful for this warm sunny September Sunday
- I am grateful for the cool breeze coming off the Atlantic Ocean
- I am grateful I don’t have to work on weekends
- I am grateful I was able to Skype with my brother in Korea this morning
- I am grateful for the comfortable bed I sleep in every night
- I am grateful for the chicken sandwich Brian picked up for me at lunch today
- I am grateful for my good health
- I am grateful for the walk I will be going on this afternoon
- I am grateful for having cold water to drink
- I am grateful for the hot shower this morning
Your list doesn’t have to be exceptional and most of what I listed are things which are free to everyone to enjoy.
I hope this blog helped someone realize there is much to be grateful for and much reason to be alive.
Gratitude equals happiness
Peace & love – Rachel