A few years ago Oprah contributed to the popularity of gratitude journals, the idea of each day either starting or ending your day by journaling at least 5 things for which you are grateful. In the tough days, this might be as simple as “I am grateful for my ability to see.” Or “I am grateful to not be alone.” And in the great days, recognizing 5 things in your life might be too limiting as your heart is bursting with gratitude… “I am grateful for the beauty of nature, the brilliance of the sun shining, the birds chirping, the flowers in my garden.” And “I am grateful for an amazing group of friends that constantly pour out their love on me and make me feel accepted and cherished.” And then most days are somewhere in between.
The gratitude journal has never worked very well for me. I consider myself an incredibly grateful person, but the concept of writing a set list each morning or night has felt rigid, forced and at times inauthentic… like I am grasping at straws to write something profound in my notebook to be captured for all time. Instead, I’ve broadened my idea of being grateful to become a way of being instead of a list of what is.
BE GRATEFUL is a perspective with which I try to live my life. As I go throughout my day, what can I appreciate, what can I recognize as a blessing, and how can I express gratitude for it as it happens. At this exact moment, I am incredibly grateful for the freedom that comes from running my own business, which allows me the opportunity to work from home and write this message as I sit on my front porch and drink coffee. Yesterday I was grateful for connection, as I had a call with a dear friend and was reminded of the awesome gift of friendship and so appreciative of laughter.
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” – Brene Brown
Sharing my gratitude has also become a key component of being grateful in my life. It is rare that I am grateful for something that is isolated unto me. Usually, it is gratitude for another person or an external experience which is so much better when shared… and when these moments of appreciation occur, I go out of my way to share it immediately. Often with apologies to my friends for the sometimes incessant compliments and showering of love, which as I type that seems ridiculous that I’d ever apologize for that. Over the past 24 hours, here are a few ways that I’ve shared my appreciation…
“M- Did you see the sunset tonight? The purple wisps of clouds and the burnt orange rays of sun were stunning. I’m so grateful to have a view of the sunset from my porch.”
“A – In case I haven’t told you lately, I am so grateful for you. Your kind heart, tough questions, and authentic journey bring so much depth and joy to my life. Thanks for being my friend.”
“R – I was in your store a few days ago and was impressed by and grateful for the level of service I received from your manager. Your team is a great representation of the respect and hospitality which we all want but is so often missing in the service industry. Please share my thanks and appreciation with them! Cheers”
While there is nothing especially earth shattering in my gratefulness above, it feels expansive when I incorporate it as a perspective and a lifestyle mindset throughout my day and share it with others… even the occasional stranger on the street.
What does gratitude look like for you?
How can you BE GRATEFUL in your life at this exact moment?
When was the last time you were touched or impressed by someone else’s gratitude?