Yes, I know it’s a “play” on the song that asks, “What’s LOVE got to do with it, got to do with it?” The lyrics go on to say…”it’s a second-hand emotion”. I would beg to differ..that is, if one is talking about the “real thing”; but that’s not the topic of this Friday’s blog! The holiday that we’ll be celebrating next Thursday – Thanksgiving – gave me the inspiration I’d been seeking…and, by the way, I’m VERY thankful for that!!!
It’s that time of year when we begin to take stock of all the things that have transpired these past several months, whether it’s been something relating to family…or perhaps it’s a professional success story. Either way, each of us…if we’re taking the time to evaluate our lives…the ups and downs…the pitfalls and detours, laughter and tears…we’ll come to the realization that we have a multitude of things for which to be thankful.
Actually, gratitude and thankfulness are what I would call “twin attitudes”. They literally go hand-in-hand. I really like this quote by personal and professional development guru, Brian Tracy…”Develop an attitude of gratitude and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your situation.” I believe that’s sage advice!
Here’s another “gratitude quote” worthy of sharing from Alan Cohen. “Gratitude, like faith is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it grows, and the more power you have to use it on your behalf. If you don’t practice gratefulness, its benefaction will go unnoticed and your capacity to draw on its gifts will be diminished. To be grateful is to find blessings in everything. This is the most powerful attitude to adopt, for there are blessings in everything.”
And just for good measure, one final and very profound reflection from best-selling author, Melody Beattie. “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more! It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
So how does one foster a feeling of thankfulness or gratitude in the midst of despair, when the world seems like it’s crumbling all around? Perhaps you have a friend or loved one who’s experiencing loss…whether it be a job or relationship…maybe you’ve gotten a challenging medical diagnosis that’s totally blind-sided you. When life doesn’t make sense, there is One who knows what you’re going through…and wants to walk with you through the valley. It’s in the process where we grow…I know from experience! And I thank God for all the blessings He has bestowed on me!
Here are a few ways to cultivate thankfulness:
- Focus on the positives in your life…I bet you’ll find they far outweigh the negatives!
- Nurture close relationships…and let each of them know how much you truly value them!
- Avoid comparing yourself to others…it’s one of the most destructive things you can do!
- Keep a gratitude journal…you’ll be astounded at the goodness of God in your life!
- Serve others/Volunteer…there are wonderful opportunities just waiting for you!
- Give generously…of your time, talent and financial resources…”Blessed to be a blessing”!
- Forgive those who’ve wronged you…it will set you free!
- Learn to be a gracious receiver…it will bring great joy to those desiring to give to you!
Another thing I’m incredibly thankful for is the opportunity to share with you via these weekly blogs. I trust that they are a blessing to you as well. It’s definitely been a “healthy stretching” of my personal and professional development muscles!