What does Gratitude really mean?
Most of us are thankful for the blessings we have in our lives. We have families we love, jobs that help us provide the necessities of daily living, good health, friends to laugh and play with, freedom, and Free Will to live our lives the way we want to.
Most of us are very grateful for these blessings, but how often do we stop to focus and reflect on that? Probably not as often as we should. Why is Gratitude even important? Sure, we're thankful for what we have, but why should we have to dwell on it?
There is a perfect reason! Have you ever given someone a gift, and when they open it they react with very little enthusiasm? They say flatly, "Oh yeah, thanks, I've been wanting one of those." Their words say "thank you" but their heart says, "big deal". You can feel that, can't you? Does it inspire you to want to give them another gift? Probably not. On the other hand, if you give someone a gift and they exclaim, "Oh THANK YOU, I just love it!", doesn't that lift your heart? You feel appreciated, and happy that you made them feel appreciated.
The one Universal Law that has had the most profound effect in my life is, Like Attracts Like. When we are truly grateful for the blessings in our lives, and we take time to reflect on them, we automatically begin to draw more blessings to ourselves. Why? Because we create what we focus on.
True gratitude isn't the act of mechanically listing the blessings in our lives every night before we go to sleep. Gratitude is an Attitude. It's a mindset of thankfulness and joy for the wonderful blessings in our lives. Our hearts and minds are lifted in joy when we reflect on the beauty and love surrounding us. It's a heartfelt acknowledgment that our lives would not be as happy as they are now if we didn't have those blessings.
Okay, so maybe not everything in our lives is perfect right now. Gratitude can be hard to foster when we are also experiencing struggles at the same time. Maybe we've just lost a job, or a loved one. Maybe we have difficult financial struggles. Maybe we are mired in depression and sadness. It's hard to feel grateful during moments like that.
That's where Faith comes in. Gratitude and Faith go hand in hand. Gratitude is reflecting on and being thankful for the blessings we do have, while Faith affirms that more are on the way. Maybe not everything in our lives is the way we want it to be, but some things are wonderful, and the things that aren't so wonderful will get better in time. Another job is just around the corner. Peace and healing will come to us as we go through the grieving process for our loved one. Financial struggles come and go. Depression and sadness will lift (seeking treatment may be necessary in some cases), and the sun will shine once again. Believe this. Know it in your heart. Affirm it to the Universe, and it will be so.
Do you know what I'm grateful for? You. Every single one of you who is reading these words right now. I'm deeply grateful that I'm given the opportunity to send even a tiny ray of sunshine into your lives each week. The letters I get back from you telling me that I've made a difference in your life, no matter how small, fill my heart to overflowing.
Be thankful for the ways in which you touch the lives of others. Some of them you may not even be aware of, and that's okay. Know that they do exist.
Take time to reflect on the good things in your life, not just today, but every day. Really let yourself feel the goodness and love surrounding you. Tell your loved ones what they mean to you. Embrace them and be thankful for their presence in your life. Focus on the Love, for it's all that really matters.