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Friday, June 10, 2011

The gift of gratitude

Our mind is a powerful thing. It can be a blessing or a curse. We can get up every day and find millions of reasons to be miserable, or just as many to be grateful. We all know exactly how and when we make ourselves miserable. It is when we compare ourselves to others and then think that they seem happier, live in greater affluence, know more prominent people, hold higher positions, have bigger houses, or date the partner we desire. Even if we don't compare ourselves to others, we can choose to focus only on the things that don't go well with us: our painful hip, meager bank account, lousy boss, car that doesn't want to start, lack of assertiveness, height, weight, skin color, age, hair, and all the other things that we feel self-conscious about.

Yet, we can also choose to adopt the attitude of gratitude – a mindset that does much more than just rhyme. Making a simple list of all the things we do have and can do, is the quickest way to realize our many reasons to be grateful. In depressing situations we can consider focusing on the positive things about the problem we are facing. Giving ourselves the gift of gratitude has everything to do with the wolf we feed inside us. Remember the story? A grandfather told his grandson that we all have two wolves struggling with each other inside of us, one being anger, hatred, greed, envy, self-pity, and disdain; the other being kindness, love, generosity, care, cheerfulness, and respect. The little boy asked his grandfather which wolf won, and the old man told him, "the one you feed."

Gratitude results in a more positive view of the world around us. It's a contagious mindset that can spread rapidly, and make our lives much happier. Let's grant ourselves the gift of gratitude!

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