Intentional Gratitude. Every Damn Day.
I like to start each and every day a certain way. A ritual, as some might describe it, is a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order. Many times this is done with a goal in mind. For me, it is about setting the tone for the day and getting my mind in a state where I’m better prepared to act as things come up, which as Murphy’s law states, they always do.
I start my day in gratitude. And I do it very intentionally. I believe that it is important to be intentional in being thankful in everything. The things I have, the people in my life, the situations I’m in, the work I get to do, the value I can add. And I believe that this is important for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, when I am thankful for things, I am intentionally aware of them. This is kind of a double whammy, because as I become aware, that awareness grows. Hence my thankfulness grows. It is momentum in it’s purest form, because it is completely internal at this point. Think of a seed being planted and the fruit that grows. Think of how good that fruit is. That is awareness of being thankful. It’s delicious.
We overlook so much in our day to day that is so important. First- you woke up today! That’s pretty badass, if you ask me. The opportunity to live another day is a gift that should never be overlooked. This is the first step- recognize today as a gift and not a burden. Many times people get caught up in the fact that things haven’t worked out the way they wanted. This can come in the form of careers that didn’t pan out, relationships that didn’t blossom, kids that didn’t do what you wanted. But this is the wrong way to look at anything. Our significance in the big picture is pretty small, and this humble attitude helps to recognize that, while I’m not as important as I want to be, I’m more important than I give myself credit for.
Think about when someone holds the door open for you when you walk into a building. Or when someone smiles at you when walking down the street. These are small, insignificant actions on the surface. But they have a huge meaning because they connect us. They send a message that ‘you matter’. And when we matter, we feel good. When we feel good, we have something to give. How good does it feel when you’re in line at Starbucks and the person in front of you pays for your coffee and then you in turn pay for the person behind you? It feels great and it makes you want to pass it on for someone else.
Being thankful about whatever situation you’re in also lets you not get hung up on the negatives that pop up all the time. Negative people and negative situations are all around us and it’s easier to get sucked into the negative than it is to rise above and look for the positive. But when you are thankful, it gets harder and harder to be sucked into the negative.
An easy way to incorporate this into your life is to set a goal of ‘no complaints’ for a specified amount of time. Does a day with no complaints seem absolutely impossible? Try an hour. Then at the end of that hour do it again. Break off small segments of time and focus on that. Pretty soon you’ll string together something much more meaningful. Give it a try!
What are some of the things that you're thankful for? Share this post on your social feed and share with your friends some things that you're thankful for. Start small and be the change you wish to see. It's amazing how far that can go.