With the stress of life and the constant inconveniences, mistakes, and pure bad luck, it can be hard to find anything in life to be grateful for. This can be especially true after a long, hard day when all you want is to sit in your bed being mad at the world. Finding anything to be grateful for can feel like an impossible task, however, gratitude can help us see the positive side of the negative things.
I first thought of this idea during a Thanksgiving celebration. Thanksgiving isn’t really celebrated in Nigeria like it is in North America - we give thanks year-round and special thanks on Sundays. It’s a tradition for most families that they go around the dinner table and state one thing that they are thankful for. I find this to a beautiful tradition that highlights the better parts of life. Because of this, I have started to find things throughout my day that I am grateful for. At the end of each day, as I’m getting into bed, I think of one thing that I am thankful for that happened that day. I have started writing these things down every night before I got to bed. Now, I can flick back over the things I was thankful about if I’m ever feeling particularly sour about the world or my situation. Doing this brightens my day and makes me feel appreciative of the great things I have in life. I try to be very specific about what I am grateful for. So, I won’t say the basics, like I am grateful for my family, my friends, my boyfriend, etc. While I am grateful for those things, I found being more specific is more productive and helpful for improving my day. For example, I may end the day being grateful that my dinner was delicious, or that my boyfriend came over for dinner and did the dishes without me asking.
I will admit that some days are harder than others to find even one thing to be grateful for. Sometimes it feels like not one thing in your day was positive in the slightest. On these days, I stretch and try to find appreciation in the little things. For example, on a truly bad day, I might find myself grateful for the nice waitress who served me at lunch, or I might find gratitude in the nice, breezy weather of that afternoon. While these things seem trivial; by finding moments to be thankful for, I am slowly changing my perspective of the world - I’m building and developing gratitude. Since doing this, it has become easier and easier to find things I am grateful for.
A few months ago, I read a blog article about humility and learned that gratitude (and not bragging) is a part of being humble. So, I am going to take this to mean that gratitude and humility go hand in hand. Being humble is something else I am working toward. Knowing that when I accomplish something, I added my own skills and hard work, but I also got help from others around me. We rarely do anything by ourselves and sometimes we get help without even knowing it. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to go around bragging about how great you are. Yes, you should be proud of your accomplishments, but you shouldn’t be pushing it in other people’s faces. Be grateful, but also be gracious (humble)
What I’ve learned during this experiment is that I am now able to find more joy and appreciation for my life and situation. I find beauty in the smaller things and find great happiness in the bigger things. I now find myself being grateful subconsciously, which is a wonderful trait to build. When one of my coworkers gets me a coffee, or my boyfriend is downstairs waiting for me after work, I am beyond ecstatic. Developing gratitude has improved my outcome and perspective on the little things in life.
1 : gratitude is something you must work at.
2 : be grateful but also be gracious/humble.
3 : practicing gratitude will change your life.Category: Emotions / Subcategory: Gratitude
Tags: stress, grateful, negative, positive, thanksgiving, thankful, appreciate, humility, humble, bragging, gracious