It seems as though gratitude doesn’t get mentioned in the mainstream too often outside of this time of year. I didn’t say much this past Thursday, but the whole “Thanksgiving” bullshit holiday really does not sit well with me. For starters, it’s based on lies and genocide. Lies that are still being taught to children in schools, despite the fact that we live in the information age, where a large majority of this country’s population can easily learn the truth about this holiday, but we keep on churning out the bullshit, and people keep spooning it up. I guess I should start this by saying how thankful I am that my Native American relatives and I are still here. I am grateful that I have never experienced the hardships and cruelty my ancestors faced, and what current day Natives are facing still. I am, however, saddened by my mother and her parents being completely white washed. At any rate, I want to focus on gratitude!
We should be giving thanks every day of our lives, not just one day of the year. I have created a bubble for myself, in which I choose to surround myself with enlightenment and positivity as much as possible, so I’m used to seeing posts/articles/podcasts/videos/etc. about the importance of gratitude. I still live on this planet though, so when I look outside my Universe and see that so many people are still living in a mental state of lack, I feel the need to share what I have learned and experienced in the hopes of inspiring. Sometimes I come across as a little pushy, but I sincerely want to help others learn to be happy.
I recently read through a report from a psychological evaluation that was given to me at 9 years old, and I was reminded that I have always been an empath and a giver. The situations we perceive as hardships, lack, poverty, illness, hatred, injustice, and all things negative in the world have always deeply troubled and saddened me since I was a child. I cannot and do not watch the news, although it’s almost impossible not to know what’s going on anyway. This was the first catalyst for my gratitude. I knew as a child that I had a lot more than a lot of other people, and while a part of me felt guilty, it instilled a sense of thankfulness inside of me, and it prompted me to help others.
It is so easy to get caught up in our every day lives and feel stressed out and burdened by our responsibilities. I have plenty of experience with feeling like the world was on my shoulders, but as time goes on, it becomes easier and easier for me to change my perspective. I have had many times of loss and lack that have instilled permanent gratitude inside of me for all that I do have. Sure, I initially panic when something goes wrong, but then I look for more. Is the situation trying to teach me something? Is there a lesson to learn or a habit or outdated mode of thinking to break? Is it to make me see or realize something? I always seek the silver lining, and I always find it. Shit happens to everyone, regardless of external status and resources. We are no better or worse off than anyone else. We can spend our time focusing on what we think is wrong, or we can focus on what is right. It is our choice. I am a human, and I often complain, which is why I created the 21 Day No Complaining Challenge for myself, but I don’t dwell and sit in negativity. It’s okay to vent or express your feelings if you need to (in healthy ways, not ways that infringe on other’s boundaries), and it’s important to accept and sit with our negative emotions, but those feelings aren’t going to change if you don’t change them.
Gratitude is the fastest way to make life better. We take SO much for granted! Every morning I should be waking up and saying, “thank you” for another day of experience in this life, but I don’t - I reach for my phone instead. I do, however, feel moved throughout my day to express gratitude for the little things. Any time I watch a sunset or look into my partner’s eyes, I am reminded me how grateful I am to have the gift of eyesight. I used to feel frustrated that my teenager wasn’t helping out enough around the house. Now, I express gratitude when she does do something helpful, and I noticed that she seems to do more and with less complaining, the more I appreciate her help instead of forcing tasks upon her. Any time I express genuine gratitude towards something or someone, I notice it continues to show up. Someone once expressed amazement for how often help just shows up for me, and it’s because I am truly appreciative and I use that gratitude to pay it forward. When I stop stressing about money, and remove the sense of lack and replace it with the feeling of abundance, that’s when money starts flowing in. The more love I give, the more I receive, and so on.
Giving back is something that is a high priority for me, and while I don’t donate 10% of my income (I don’t have steady income) like Tony Robbins suggests, I give in whatever way I can as often as I can. I donate items, time, and money to non profits I believe in when I have the resources, and I give my kindness, compassion and understanding to those around me. I mean, I’m no angel, but I do my best to help and support others when it feels right to me. I’ve even felt moved enough to donate to Wikipedia because I use the site so often that I felt it would be greedy for me not to thank them.
I hate to say that giving is the door that opens to receiving, because that is not the point of gratitude, but it truly is the path to abundance in all forms. There is so much to be thankful for that it is ridiculous for us not to acknowledge it on a regular basis. Again, it’s important to feel all of your feelings, but next time you feel down or stressed, make a real effort to write down all of the things you are truly grateful for, no matter how small. Just a few months ago I was feeling like I was in a slump and struggling to manifest, when I was reminded by someone that perhaps I wasn’t focusing on gratitude and was focusing too much on what I felt was missing. Turned out they were correct, so I flipped the switch on my perspective, and now I’m feeling the best I have all year.
Just start by saying the words, “thank you.” We are constantly interacting with one another, let’s start expressing that we acknowledge our need for other humans and let’s thank each other for keeping things going! It makes me feel so good when someone thanks me for something, and I want to make others feel that good too. The best is when you express gratitude to someone whom our egos may feel doesn’t deserve it - like a cranky cashier or someone who is rude; they need the kindness most!
What are you grateful for today? Do you have your health? Do you have the ability to love? Did someone hold a door open for you? Do you have internet and electricity? Were you able to feed yourself today? Did you find a close parking spot? Do you have access to clean water? Do you have a bed? A roof? A door? Can you experience nature? Are you breathing? Do you have all of your teeth? Not everyone can answer yes to all of these questions. Think about what you value and express gratitude towards it! I’m thankful that you read this entire post!