Across the country families and friends are gathering around the dinner table to celebrate Thanksgiving and share what they are grateful for this year. I love this day about community, food and gratitude – totally my type of holiday!
But, gratitude extends far beyond a day or a moment – it’s a lifestyle. Being grateful allows us to truly enjoy life. I’ve learned that no matter how bad it gets, there is always something to be grateful for, and holding onto that smidgen of gratitude can be the reminder that gets me through an hour, a day or a circumstance.
Nearly seven years ago I hit a rough patch in my life. Some would say things were falling apart. Today, I know it was my breakthrough moment, the day when things would finally start coming together. Why? Because I would be willing to live differently than I had ever before. I said no to self-pity, selfishness and being the victim. I said yes to a lifestyle of gratefulness, accountability and growth.
Gratitude was the first step in rewiring my brain to live a more positive life. We all know that gratitude doesn’t cure a deadly disease or take away the pain of heartbreak. And there are times we don’t want to be grateful, we want to be angry or sad or sit in the heartache. But, when we come to a place where we allow gratitude in, it subtly reminds us that no matter how bad life gets, there is always something for which we can be grateful.
The first time I felt the impact of purposeful gratitude in my adult life was being added to a daily gratitude email group. This group of women shared their daily gratitude through email. As each email came into my inbox throughout the day, my hope grew. I saw the light in others, and my light grew. I saw that others struggle and still found thanks, my community grew. I shared whatever gratitude I could muster, and my heart grew.
Today I practice gratitude throughout the day. I look up at the clouds and say “thank you.” I close my eyes and wrap my hands around my dinner dish and say “thank you.” When I’m low on money, I give it away to a charity or someone who is homeless, and I say “thank you.” Whenever I am fearful of losing something, I say thank you for all that I have. Today I share a daily group text list with four beautiful women who send each other five things we are grateful for in that day. We are connected everyday in thanks.
Just like anything else, I don’t do this perfectly. I haven’t managed to thank every meal or every cloud or every person in my life. But, I certainly try to live a life of immense gratitude for how much I am blessed with each and every day.