Perhaps you already know how much personal benefit gratitude brings into your life. Perhaps you have already experienced the impact it can have on your life. If so, this is a little reminder.
Take a moment right now to look around and count up how many things you can see to be grateful for.
You live in a snug, weather-tight home with electricity and indoor plumbing. When you need to go somewhere—especially any distance from your house—you drive a car or use some form of public transportation. Your cell phone gives you access to the entire world.
Perhaps not in your direct line of sight, you have a computer, a TV, a microwave and a refrigerator. With these few things, no matter what their age, quality or state of repair, you are richer than 80% of the world's population.
Now expand your thinking to include the little luxuries that make your life easier and the people who help you along your way. Add in your freedom of choice, your talent and your creativity. Be specific. Continue the list until you truly can't think of another thing to be thankful for.
Take special note of those things that support your efforts in life: your equipment, your mentors, those people who encourage you or challenge you (even if they do it in ways you hate), your supplies, your books, previous efforts that have helped you reach your present level of accomplishment, every failure, every positive comment, anything that's reassured you, and every example (good or bad) that’s helped you create your value system. Don’t forget electricity, hot showers, sunsets, long meditative drives, and all past experiences.
I have a very good relationship with equipment. Cars, washing machines, computers, whatever you want to name, if I own it, there's a high probability it will last far beyond it’s expected lifetime. I realized this years ago, when I was packing up my computer for the fourth time in a year with every expectation that when I set it up again it would work perfectly. So then I started to think about different machines I’ve owned, and the years added up. I have often wondered if how much I appreciated my equipment has anything to do with this good relationship.
Now, there’s nothing about this theory that could be proven scientifically, but I propose you’ll get three times the benefit from anything you’re truly grateful for.
Put this in the context of your own relationships—to what extent do you appreciate your family and friends? Or your job—what's wonderful about it? Or past experiences—how much did you learn from them. And if something you tried didn't work, aren’t you glad it’s now behind you?
How would you like it if your spouse gave you three times the affection, or if your boss appreciated you three times as much, or if after each disappointment three more opportunities opened up for you?
I realize Pollyannaism doesn’t play well in today’s sophisticated society. But what’s wrong, really, with looking at the bright side? Or turning lemons into lemonade? Or believing in the goodness of others? Or trusting that things will work out well for you?
Give gratitude a try by looking at all elements of your life with appreciation. You may be thankful you did.
Look at the world with wonder and at yourself with warmth