Pregnancy hormones are no doubt at work here (my
"normal" self can endure a commercial break without
shedding tears), but for all of us, actively cultivating a sense of gratitude
can help us heal and grow, and this sense of gratitude will
thrive and strengthen when we begin to pay attention to it in
even the smallest ways.
Importance of Gratitude
Gratitude wards off jealousy. When we're busy aaah-ing over what
we have, we're not looking at the person across the street and
wanting what she has. Jealousy has an enormous power to change
us, but only if we let it. By focusing on gratitude, we shift
the focus away from the things we may feel are missing in our
Gratitude keeps us centered. We're not panicking over what we
can accomplish but simply basking in the day-to-day glory of
what is. And yet gratitude combines nicely with ambition,
helping us to be gracious to the people who help us in our
Gratitude helps us to not complain. Too many of our
conversations, it seems, reduce to a competition of who has it
"Oh, I'm so tired. Bethany is teething."
"I know. I was up all night finishing a business
proposal. I don't feel good either."
We feed off one another until, in our heads, we really are
We often mistake the tremendous power of our words. A simple
negative comment or complaint can damage another person's day because it can damage the way they see their life,
either as they compare their life to yours or as they start
focusing on their own negativity.
Don Miguel Ruiz, in The Four Agreements, calls such
negativity "emotional poison." But we can instill more
positive emotions - in ourselves and in others.
Help yourself cultivate gratitude. Here are a few little things
we can all do every day.
Choose your friends wisely. If you want to be more grateful,
spend time with grateful women. Spend time with positive
women to be more positive, joyful women to be more joyful,
critical women to be more critical, irritated women to be more irritated.
If you strive to be spiritually strong, supportive, empowering,
intelligent, energetic, and positive, seek those characteristics
in others. Help your friends develop more positive traits by
living those positive traits yourself. Know what kind of friends
will help you nurture your soul, and set out to find some.
Help your friends cultivate gratitude. Before you say
anything about a friend's situation, remember that everyone's
situation is unique. I've seen it happen to myself and to my
friends. They'll be perfectly happy until someone tells them
they're being mistreated. Suddenly, they're upset. Don't let
your friends wield such power, and work to not wield such power
Day by day, hour by hour, make a goal to stop complaining about
your own lot. Make a pact with your friends to cut the
complaints from your conversations.
Give the gift of gratitude to your children. One of the
most lasting contributions we can make to our children is to
help them understand that we don't deserve anything and
everything just because we live and breathe. Help them to be
satisfied with the simple things while giving them the innate
power and ability to achieve whatever they want in life by
living in such a way yourself.
your life do you appreciate? Let them know, whether it's your
mom, your kids, your friends, your husband, your child's daycare
provider or the helpful woman behind the cosmetics counter.
You don't have to spout some corny line. A heartfelt "thank
you" often does the trick. Make it a habit and your
attention will suddenly turn to all the things people do for
you. Write thank you notes regularly - not just after a gift
exchange - and be mindful of all the ways you show your
appreciation by the things you do in return.
Spend 15 minutes writing a letter to your children. In
this note, tell them how much you love them, why you're thankful
for them, and all the ways they have enriched your life. This
can be something you give them now or after they have grown.
mindful of the little things.
strive to be aware of all the aspects of your personal,
professional, and family life for which you are thankful.
Take a few minutes today to appreciate nature. Go for a walk and
notice only those things that are beautiful. Whether you focus
on the stars above, a distant mountain range, or the cottonwood
tree in your backyard, try to notice the details. Give thanks
for the beauty that surrounds us.
Oprah Winfrey and Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple
Abundance, speak often of the importance of a Gratitude Journal, in which, at the end of each day, they record five
things that they're grateful for. Regardless of whether you record these items, spend some time each day to focus on the
little things in your life that make each day special.
Perhaps it's your child's toothless grin. A warm
home. Delicious food enjoyed with family.
Together, let's work on focusing on what we have - not on what
we don't have - and all the ways we can help one another have
more gratitude for their own lives.
Susie Michelle Cortright is the founder and publisher of
Momscape, an online magazine devoted to nurturing the nurturers.
Visit her at http://www.momscape.com
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