According to several articles I’ve read lately (like this one), gratitude is one of the keys to success. Not just saying thank you when someone passes the pepper, or being glad that you have a loving family and your health (though those are all good), but finding something each day about which you can be grateful.
Even the most wretched life has something good in it. You might need to look hard some days, but it’s there.
One post I read recently—unfortunately, I can’t find it now—took it one step further and suggested that we find ways to be grateful for those things that upset us. What??
For example, how can you be grateful to the man who cuts you off in traffic? And not just “I’m grateful that he didn’t hit me.” What if you thought of it like this? “I’m grateful to him for reminding me what not to do. I sometimes forget to slow down and not be a jerk on the road.”
It takes some practice, but I think when we approach the world in a positive light, our days are more satisfying. Finding a way to be thankful, even for those people or events that don’t feel like they deserve it, puts the power in our hands. It gives us control of our emotional reaction to the person, event, or day.
Of course, don’t forget the power of little acts of gratitude either. In our house, we thank each other for everything. Dinner is usually my job, but my husband and kids thank me every night for making it. And, you know what? It helps. Sometimes I get tired of cooking every night, but when they thank me for it, I feel appreciated.
And then I thank them for washing the dishes. 🙂
My son is responsible for bringing in the trash can and recycling bin on Tuesday after school. It’s a “chore”, something he’s explicitly expected to do. But I still thank him for doing it. After all, he’s helping me out.
I think the reason that success comes easier for those who show (genuine) gratitude is that everyone likes to have their efforts noticed. They want to feel appreciated. And if you’re the one doing the appreciating, they’re more likely to support you in your quest.
So, go get your gratitude on this Thanksgiving and every day.
And THANK YOU to all of my readers, students, friends (online and off), and family for sticking with me on this journey. You make it a joy.
Graphic created at wordle.net.